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History of Philosophy 









lAll rights reserved] 

Copyright, 1896, 
By Charles Scribner's Sons, 

John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U. S A. 


There is, in my opinion, no book so admirably fitted for 
acquainting the student with the development of thought 
as the able work of Professor Weber of the University of 
Strasburg. The author combines in his person the best 
elements of French and German scholarship. His knowl- 
edge of the subject is thorough and extensive, his judgment 
sound, his manner of expression simple, clear, and precise. 
His expositions remind one vividly of Kuno Fischer's fas- 
cinating presentation of philosophical teachings. They 
reproduce the essential thoughts of the great masters in 
language which is singularly free from obscurities and un- 
defined technical terms. The different systems are not 
mechanically joined together like so many dominos ; the 
history of philosophy is not conceived as an aggregate of 
isolated, disconnected theories, but as an evolution, as a 
more or less logical development, as a process from the 
simple to the complex. It is not a comedy of errors, a 
Sisyphus labor, a series of mighty efforts and corresponding 
failures, but a gradual advance towards truth. There are 
differences and contradictions, it is true, and many devia- 
tions from the ideal straight line which the historian, 
overlooking the entire course of development, may draw 
between the beginning and the end. Philosophy often 
follows false paths and loses itself in blind alleys. Yet 
this does not mean that it is a wild-goose chase. 



We have long wanted a text-book of the history of phi- 
losophy that covers the whole field, and presents the subject 
in a manner suited to the needs of the beginner. Zeller's 
admirable compendium of Greek philosophy and Falcken- 
berg's History of Modern Philosophy deal with special 
periods. Windelband's voluminous History of Philosophy, 
with its arbitrary divisions and unfortunate method of cut- 
ting up a system into parts and discussing these separately, 
under entirely different heads, hopelessly confuses the stu- 
dent. Besides, its account of philosophy since the days of 
Kant — a period in which our age is especially interested — 
is wholly inadequate. Professor Weber's work is the most 
serviceable manual thus far published. It begins as simply 
as the history of philosophy itself, and gradually introduces 
the reader to the complex problems of modern thought, to 
which it devotes more than one-half of its entire space. 
The portions dealing with Kant and his successors are 
particularly admirable. The clear and comprehensive ex- 
position of the Hegelian philosophy will greatly assist the 
student in his endeavors to understand that much abused 
system. And the modern theory of evolution, which has 
revolutionized the thought of our century, and which is 
barely mentioned by Falckenberg and Windelband, surely 
deserves the attention and criticism it here receives. 

This translation is made from the fifth French edition 
(1892), and includes a number of changes and additions 
which the author kindly communicated to me in manu- 
script. I have taken pains to render the original into clear 
and simple English, and to increase the usefulness of the 
book wherever it seemed possible and proper to do so, al- 
ways keeping in mind the demands of the readers for whom 
the work is intended. All material inserted by me is 



placed in square brackets. I have increased the bibliog- 
raphy (1) by adding the titles of standard American, Eng- 
lish, German, French, and Italian works ; (2) by mentioning 
translations of foreign books referred to in the text and 
notes; (3) by giving the names of important philosoph- 
ical journals published in this country and abroad ; (4) by 
placing at the end of the volume a list of the best modern 
works on logic, epistemology, psychology, anthropology, 
ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of history, the philosojjhy 
of religion, jurisprudence, politics, etc. I have also pre- 
pared an index. 


University of Missouri, 
May, 1896. 




§ 1. Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Science ..... 1 

§ 2. Division 4 

§ 3. Sources 6 


(B. 0. 600-400) 

§ 4. The Origin of Greek Philosophy 17 

§ 5. The School of Miletus. Thales, Anaximander, 

Anaximenes 21 

§ 6. The Problem of Becoming 24 

A. The Negation of Becoming 

§ 7. Eleatic Philosophy. Xenophanes, Parmenides, 

Melissus, Zeno, Gorgias 24 

B. The Apotheosis of Becoming 

§ 8. Heraclitus . c . = c . o . . . . 0 . . . 33 



C. The Explanation of Becoming 


§ 9. The Pythagorean Speculation 37 

§ 10. Empedocles 44 

§ 11. Anaxagoras 48 

§ 12. Diogenes of Apollonia, Arciielaus, Leucippus, De- 

mocritus ...... 53 


§ 13. Protagoras 59 

§ 14. Socrates ... 63 

§ 15. AiiiSTippus AND Hedonism. — Antisthenes and Cyni- 

A. The Negation of Matter. — The Apotheosis of Thought 

§ 16. Plato 75 

(1) The Idea 81 

(2) Nature 91 

(3) The Highest Good 98 

§ 17. Aristotle 104 

(1) First Philosophy 108 

(2) Second Philosophy, or the Philosophy of 

Nature 118 

B. The Apotheosis of Matter. — The Negation of the 
Thought' Substance 

§ 18. Epicurus 134 

C, The Apotheosis of Will 

§ 19. Stoicism 140 

§20. The Sceptical Reaction. — Pyrrhonism .... 148 
§ 21. Academic Scepticism 150 



§ 22. Sensationalistic Scepticism 152 

§ 23. The Scientific Movement ......... 159 

§ 2i. Eclecticism 162 

§ 25. Plotinus and Neo-Platonism 167 

§ 26. The Last Neo-Platonic Polytheists. — Porphyry, 

Jamblichus, Proclus 179 



§ 27. Christian Platonism 185 

§ 28. St. Augustine 188 

§ 29. The Death Struggles of the Roman World. — 
Barbarism. — The First Symptoms of a New 

Philosophy 198 

§ 30. Scholasticism . . 201 

§ 31. ScoTus Erigena 204 

§ 32. St. Anselmus 210 

§ 33. Realism and Nominalism 219 

§ 34. Abelard 222 

§ 35. PTugo of St. Victor 227 

§ 36. The Progress of Free Thought 230 


A. Semi-ReaMstic Perijmteticism 

§ 37. Growing Influence of the Philosophy of Aristotle 235 

§ 38. Thp: Peripatetics of the Thirteenth Century . 239 

§ 39. St. Thomas of Aquin 241 

§ 40. Duns Scotus o o ..... 246 



B. Nominalistic Peripateticism 


§ 41. The Reappearance of Nominalism. — Durand, Oc- 

cam, BURIDAN, D'AlLLY 252 

§ 42. The Downfall of Scholasticism. — The Revival 
OF THE Interest in Nature and Experimp:ntal 

Science. — Roger Bacon. — Mysticism .... 256 

§ 43. The Revival of Letters 261 

§44. Neo-Platonism. — Theosophy. — Magic 265 

§ 45. Aristotle versus Aristotle, or the Liberal Peri- 
patetics. — Stoics. — Epicureans. — Sceptics . 267 

§ 46. The Religious Reform 274 

§ 47. Scholasticism and Theosophy in the Protestant 

Countries. — Jacob Bohme 277 

§ 48. The Scientific Movement 281 


(From Bruno to Locke and Kant) 

§ 49. Giordano Bruno 286 

§ 50. Tommaso Campanella 291 

§ 51. Francis Bacon 295 

§ 52. Thomas Hobbes 300 — 

§ 53. Descartes 305 

§ 54. The Cartesian School 317 

§ 55. Spinoza 323 

I. Definitions 325 

II. Deductions 326 

(1) Theory of Substance 326 

(2) Theory of Attributes 329 

(3) Theory of Modes 334 

§ 56. Leibniz . . « 343 [^y^ 


Page > 

§ 57. John Locke 370 

§ 58. Berkeley 391 \^ 

§ 59. CONDILLAC . 399 

§ 60. The Progress of Materialism 404 

§ 61. David Hume 417 

§ 62. Immanuel Kant 434 

1. Critique of Pure Reason 437 

II. Critique of Practical Reason 462 

III. Critique of Judgment 468 

§ 63. Kant and German Idealism 473 

§ 64. FicHTE 481 

§ 65. Schelling 487 ^ 

§ 66. Hegel 496 

I. Logic, or Genealogy of Pure Concepts . 501 

II. Philosophy of Nature 510 

III. Philosophy of Mind 513 

§ 67. Herbart 535 

§ 68. Schopenhauer 544 

§ 69. Darwin and Contemporary Monism ...... 560 

§ 70. Positivism and Neo-Criticism 573 

§ 71. Conclusion 587 

Bibliography 605 





§ 1. Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Science 

Philosophy is the search for a comprehensive view of 
nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of things. It 
is both the summary of the sciences and their completion ; 
both general science and a specialty distinguished from 
science proper ; and, like its elder sisters, religion and poe- 
try, forms a separate branch among the manifestations of 
the human mind. 

The different sciences have special groups of facts for 
their subject-matter, and seek to discover the causes of these 
phenomena, or to formulate the laws according to which 
they are produced. In philosophy, on the other hand, the 
human mind endeavors to rise beyond such groups and 
their particular laws, and to explain the world as a whole, 
or the universal fact or phenomenon^ by the cause of the 
causes, or the first cause. In other words, it attempts to 
answer the question. Why does this world exist, and how 
does it happen to be what it is?^ 

1 As a search for the first cause, philosophy is defined, more par- 
ticularly, as metaphysics, ontoloyy, or speculative philosophy. The phil- 
osophy which abandons this search, and contents itself with being 
scientific synthesis, is called positive philosophy or positivism. Posi- 
tivism may simply be grounded upon the historical fact that systems 
constantly contradict each other, in which case it rests on a purely 
empirical basis, or it may be based upon the rational analysis of the 
human understanding. In the former case, it is scepticism, in the 
latter, criticism. Opposed to scepticism we have dogmatism, that is, 
the naive or deliberate belief in the ability of the human mind to 




But though philosophy has its own subject-matter and 
a separate sphere of its own, it is none the less connected 
with positive science by the closest of ties; and science 
cannot break these bonds without danger to itself. It is 
from the positive sciences, and particularly from psychol- 
ogy and allied branches, that philosophy derives its methods 
and the matter for its systems. The sciences, without phil- 
osophy, are an aggregate without unity, a body without a 
soul; philosophy, without the sciences, is a soul without 
a body, differing in nothing from poetry and its dreams. 
Science is the indispensable foundation and the matter, as 

reach an objective knowledge of things and their first cause. Ration- 
alism claims to arrive at this knowledge by a priori reasoning ; em- 
piricism assumes no other method than observation and induction, or 
a posteriori reasoning. Pure, or a priori, speculation is the method pre- 
ferred by idealism, which regards thought as the original fact, prior 
and superior to aU reality. Empiricism, on the contrary, is based 
upon the view that thought, far from being the first cause, is derived 
from a pre-existing reality ; that is, upon realism in the modern sense 
of the word. (See also § 33.) When the action of the first cause is 
considered unconscious and involuntary, as distinguished from teleo- 
logical (or making for an end), realism becomes materialism and mech- 
anism. Idealism in turn becomes spiritualism when it personifies the 
first cause, and regards it, not merely as an idea that realizes itself, 
but also as a being that hovers above things (supranaturalism, transcen- 
dentalism) and governs them according to its free-will (theism), or by 
means of unchangeable laws (deism) ; this is the dualism of mind and 
matter, of creator and nature, as opposed to pantheism, naturalism, or 
monism. Pantheism, naturalism, or monism identifies the idea of cause 
with the concept of substance, and considers the first cause as the 
innermost substance of things (immanency of God), and the totality 
of its modes or phenomena, the universe, as a living unity (monism), 
as one and the same collective being governed according to the laws 
which follow from its own nature (naturalism). Monism is either 
absolute or plural, according as it considers the cosmic substance as an 
absolute unity, or as a collection of irreducible unities ; it is atomism 
or dynamism, according as these unities are regarded as infinitely small 
extensions (atoms), or as absolutely unextended centres of force (dyna- 
mides or monads). 



it were, of philosophy ; it is, to use an Aristotelian phrase, 
potential philosophy. Philosophy, in turn, is science in 
actic, the most exalted function of the scholar, the supreme 
satisfaction of the scientific spirit and its natural tendency 
to comprehend everything into a unity. 

Philosophy and science are intimately related, not only 
in essence and in interests, but also as to their origin and 
destiny. Animated by the same all-powerful instinct to 
discern the causes of things — reriim cognoscere causas — ■ 
and to comprehend them into the unity of a first cause, the 
human mind no sooner reaches certain elementary truths 
in physics, mathematics, and morals, than it hastens to 
synthesize them, to form them into universal theories, 
into ontological and cosmological systems, i. e. to j^hiloso- 
phize, to make metaphysics. It makes up for its ignorance 
of reality either by means of the imagination, or by that 
wonderful instinct of childhood and of genius which divines 
the truth without searching for it. This accounts for the 
aprioristic, idealistic, and fantastic character of the philoso- 
phy of the ancients, as well as for its incomparable grandeur. 
In proportion as our stock of positive knowledge is in- 
creased, as scientific labor is divided and consequently de- 
veloped, philosophy becomes more and more differentiated 
from poetry; its methods are recognized, its theories gain in 
depth what the sciences acquire in scope. Every scientific 
movement gives rise to a philosophical movement ; eveiy 
new philosophy is a stimulus to science. Though this bond 
of union seems to have been ruptured during the Middle 
Ages, the breach is but an apparent one. Whatever hostil- 
ity or indifference is manifested towards science, comes from 
the official philosophy of the School ; it is never found among 
the independent philosophers, be they Christians, Jews, or 
Arabians. There may be as much opposition between sci- 
ence and a certain philosophy in the nineteenth century as 
there was in the times of Roger Bacon and Lord Verulam. 



True science and true philosophy have always been in perfect 
accord, and though there may be a semblance of rivalry, 
their relations are to-day as harmonious as they can be.^ 

§ 2. Division 

To the Ionian Greeks belongs the honor of having crea- 
ted 2 European philosophy ; to the Neo-Latins and the Ger- 
mans, that of having given to it its modern development. 

Hence there are, in the history to be outlined by us, two 
great and wholly distinct epochs, which are connected by 
the Middle Ages (period of transition). 

1 [On the nature and import of philosophy, and its relation to 
other sciences, consult Ladd, Introduction to Philosophy, New York, 
1891 ; Yolkelt, Vortrdge zur Einfiihrung in die Philosophie der Gegen- 
wart, Munich, 1892; Paulsen, Einleitung in die Philosophie, 3d ed., 
Berlin, 1895 ; English translation by Frank Thilly, New York, 1895. 

2 By this word we do not mean to imply the absolute originality of 
Hellenic philosophy. The influence exercised upon its development 
by the Orient cannot be doubted. There is no trace of philosophy, 
properly so called, among the Greeks before they come in contact 
with Egypt, that is, before the reign of Psammetichus, who admits 
them into the country. Moreover, the fathers of Greek philosophy are 
all lonians ; from Asia Minor philosophy was imported, first into 
Italy, and at a comparatively recent period into Athens, that is, into 
Greece proper. But what is most important, we find in Ionian phil- 
osophy, and that too at its very outset, conceptions the boldness of 
which is in marked contrast with the comparative timidity of Attic 
philosophy, — conceptions which pre-suppose a long line of intellectual 
development. The influence of Egyptian and Chaldean science, which 
is, moreover, attested by Herodotus, may be compared to that exer- 
cised by the Arabian schools upon the development of Chi'istian 
thought in the Middle Ages. It has been exaggerated by Roth {Ge- 
schichte unserer ahendldndischen Philosophie, vol. I., 1846, 1862 ; vol. II., 
1858) and unjustly denied by Zeller (Die Philosophie der Griechen, 5th 
ed. 1892, vol. I. ; English translation by Sarah AUeyne). Concerning 
the relation of Pyiliagoreanism and Platonism to Indian and Ii'anian 
speculation, and the part played by Babylon as the centre of intellec* 
tual exchange between the Orient and the Occident, see § 9. 



I. In the development of Greek philosophy, we have two 
separate periods, — a period of spontaneous creation, and 
one of sceptical reflection and reproduction. 

1. The problem which dominates the former is the 
problem of the origin of things : the problem of becoming. 
Among the lonians, this philosophy assumes the form of 
materialistic pantheism; among the Italian philosophers, 
Avho are influenced by the Doric spirit, it is essentially 
spiritualistic pantheism. The systems produced by these 
two schools contain in germ all the doctrines of the future, 
especially the monistic and atomistic hypotheses, the two 
poles of modern scientific speculation. — From Thales to 
Protagoras, or from 600 to 440 B. c. 

2. The age of critical reflection is inaugurated by the 
irdvTwv fierpov dv6p(07ro<; of the Sophists. This period 
evolves the important truth, foreshadowed by Zeno, Par- 
menides, and Anaxagoras, that the human understanding 
is a coeflicient in the production of the phenomenon. To 
the problems of nature are added the problems of the soul ; 
to the cosmological questions, logical and critical questions ; 
to the speculations on the essence of things, investigations 
concerning the criterion of truth and the end of life. 
Greek philosophy reaches its highest development in Plato, 
as far as depth is concerned ; in Aristotle and in the sci- 
ence of Alexandria, as regards analysis and the extent of 
its inquiries. 

II. Scientific progress, and consequently speculation, 
was arrested by the invasion of the Northern races. The 
philosophical spirit was extinguished for want of something 
to nourish it. Ten centuries of uninterrupted labor were 
followed by ten centuries of sleep, — a sleep that was deep 
at first, and then broken by bright dreams of the past (Plato 
and Aristotle) and forecasts of the future. Although 
the logic of history is less transparent during the middle 
ages than before and after this period of transition, we 



notice two epochs that run parallel with those of Attic 
philosophy : one, Platonic, realistic, turned towards the 
past (from St. Augustine to St. Anselm), the other, Peri- 
patetic, nominalistic, big with the future. 

III. Modern philosophy dates from the scientific and 
literary revival in the fifteenth century. Its history, like 
that of Greek speculation, presents, — 

1. A period of expansion and ontological synthesis 
(Bruno, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz), and, 

2. A period of critical reflection and analysis (essays 
concerning the human understanding : Locke, Hume, Kant, 
and his successors). 

§ 3. Sources 

The principal sources for the history of philosophy are : 

For pre-Socratic speculation : Plato and Aristotle.^ 

For Socrates: Xenophon^ and Plato, particularly the 

Apology^ the Crito^ and the Plimdo. 

For Plato : the Bepuhlic, the Timceus^ the Symposium, the 

Fhcedrus, the Thecetetus, the Gorgias^ the Protagoras.^ 
For Aristotle: the Metaphysics^ the Logic, the Ethics, the 

Physics, the Psychology, the Politics ; the commentators of 

Aristotle, especially Simplicius.'* 

1 ^specially the first book of the Metaphysics (see § 17, first note), 
which is a historical summary of philosophy from Thales to Aristotle. 
The fragments of the pre-Socratic authors have been collected by 
MuUach, Fragmenta phil. grcec. ante Socratem, 3 vols., Paris, 1860 
[also by Ritter and Preller (mentioned on page 8). English trans- 
lations in Burnet's Early Greek Philosophy (page 8), and of Heraclitus, 
in Patrick's Heraclitus on Nature. For translations of classical writers, 
consult Bohn's Classical Library. — Tr.]. 

2 Memorabilia Socratis recens. J. G. Schneider, Oxf., 1813. 
8 [See § 16, note 2. — Tr.] 

^ Comment, in Arist. physicorum libros, ed. by Hermann Dials, Berlin, 
1882 ; Comment, in libros de anima, ed. by M. Hayduck, Berlin, 1882. 



For the pQsthAnstoielian schools and Greek philosophy 
in general : Lucretius, ^ Cicero ,^ Seneca,^ Plutarch/ Sextus 
Empiricus,^ Diogenes Laertius,^ Clement of Alexandria,^ 
Origen,^ Hippolytus,^ Eusebius,^^ Plotinus,!^ Porphyry,!^ 

1 Lucretii Cari de rerum nalura libb. C. Lachmann rec. et illustr., 
Berlin, 1850 ff. [edited also by Bernays, Munro, and others]. 

2 The De divinatione et de fato^ the De natura deorurn, the De offi- 
ciiSf the De Jinibus, the Tusculance disputationes, and the Academica ; 
Opera omnia, ed. Le Clerc, Bouillet, Lemake, 17 vols., Paris, 1827-32 ; 
Opera pJiilosophica, ed. Goerenz, 3 vols., Leipsic, 1809-1813 ; Ciceronis 
Jiistoria philosophice antiquce, ex omnibus illius scriptis collegit F. 
Gedike, Berlin, 1782, 1801, 1814. 

8 Opera quse extant c. not. et comment, varior., 3 vols., Amsterdam, 

* De physicis philosophorum decretis libb., ed. Beck, Leipsic, 1777 ; 
Scripta moralia, 6 vols., Leipsic, 1820 ; Opera omnia graece et latine ed. 
Reiske, 12 vols., Leipsic, 1774-82. 

^ Sexti Empirici opera (Jlvpfxoveicov vTroTvirwaewv libb. III. ; Adver- 
sus mathematicos libb. XI.) grsec. et lat. ed. Fabricius, Leipsic, 1718 
and 1842 ; ed. Emm. Bekker, Berlin, 1842. 

^ Diogenis Laertii de vitis, dogmatibus et apopMTiegmatihus clarorum 
philosophorwn libb. X. grsece et latine ed. Hiibner, 2 vols., Leipsic, 
1828, 1831 ; D. L. 1. X. ex Italicis codicibus nunc primum excussis 
recensuit C. Gabr. Cobet, Paris, 1850. Diogenes Laertius flourished 
about 230 of our era. 

' Clementis Alexandrini opera, Leipsic, 1830-34 (Aoyos npoTpenTiKos 
rrpos "EXXj/ms ; Ilai8aycoy6s ; ^TpcofxaTeis) . 

8 De principiis gr. ed. c. interpret, lat. Rufini, et annot. instruxit ed. 
R. Redepenning, Leipsic, 1836 ; Contra Celsum libb. ed. Spencer, Cam- 
bridge, 1671 ; Origenis opera omnia quae graece vel latine tantum ex- 
stant et ejus nomine circumferuntur, ed. C. et C. V. Delarue, denuo 
recens. emend, castig. C. H. E. Lommatzsch, 25 vols., Berlin, 1831-48. 

^ S. Hippolyti refutationis omnium hceresium libror. X. quae super- 
sunt graece et latine ed. Duncker et Schneidewin, Gott. 1856-59. 
The first book, known by the title (^tXoo-o^ov/nem, was for a long 
time attributed to Origen ; booko IV.-X., which were discovered in 
Greece in 1842, were first published by Emm. Miller, Oxford, 1851, 
under the title Origenis pJiilosophumena, etc. 

Eusebii Pamph. Prceparatio evangelica, ed. Heinichen, Leipsic, 


11 See § 25. 



Proclus,^ Eunapms,^ Stobseus,^ Photius,* Suidas,^ and mod- 
ern historical works. ^ 

1 See § 25. 

2 Eunax3ii Sard. Vitce ph'dosopliorum et sophistarum, ed. Boissonade, 
Paris, 1849. 

3 Stobaei Eclogarum pliysicarum et ethicarum libb. grsece et latine ed. 
Heeren, 2 vols., Gott. 1791, 1801 (out of print) ; id. ed. Meineke, 
2 vols., Leipsic, 1860, 1864 ; Stobsei Florilegium, ed. Th. Gaisford, 
4 vols., Oxford, 1822 ; Leipsic, 1823 ; Meineke, 4 vols., Leipsic, 1855-57. 

* Myriobihlion, ed. Hoschel, Augsburg, 1801. The patriarch Pho- 
tius flourished in the 9th century. 

^ Lexicon of Suidas, ed. Gaisford, London, 1834 ; Bernhardi, 2 vols., 
Halle, 1834. Suidas flourished about 1000. 

® Especially: [MuUach, Fragmenta philosophorum Grcecorum, 3 vols., 
1860-1881; Diels, Doxograplii Grceci, Berlin, 1879] ; Ritter and Preller, 
Historia philosophice Graeco-Romance ex fontium locis contexta [7th ed., 
Schultess and Wellmann, Gotha, 1888] ; Hitter, Geschichte der Philo- 
sophie alter Zeit, Berlin, 1829 ; Brandis, Handbuch der Geschichte der 
griechisch-roniischen Philosophies 3 vols., Berlin, 1835-1860 ; same author, 
Geschichte der Entwichelungen der gr. Philosophic, etc., 2 vols., 1862-64 ; 
Roth, Geschichte unserer abendldndischen Philosophie, 2 vols., Mannheim - 
1848-58 ; Laforet, Histoire de la jjhilosophie ancienne, 2 vols., Brussels, 
1867 ; Ed. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen in ihrer geschichtlichen 
Entwickelung [(five editions since 1844), 5th ed. begun in 1892, 3 pts. 
in 5 vols., Leipsic (Engl, transl. of all but part dealing with Aristotle 
and elder Peripatetics, by S. F. AUeyne and O. J. Reichel, London and 
'New York, 1876-1883. Same author's smaller work, Grundriss der 
Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie, 4th ed., Leipsic, 1893 ; Engl, 
transl. by S. F. Alleyne and Evelyn Abbot, N'ew York, 1890. — Tr.]. 
The following may also be consulted with profit : Grote, History of 
Greece, 6th ed., 10 vols., London, 1888 ; the same author, Plato and 
the other Companions of Socrates, 5th ed., London, 1888 ; [same author, 
Aristotle, 2 vols., 2d ed., 1879; Schwegler, Geschichte der griechischen 
Philosophie, 3d ed. Ttibingen, 1886; Ferrier, Lectures on Greek Philoso- 
phy, 2 vols., Edinburgh and London, 1866 ; London, 1888 ; Teichmiiller, 
Studien zur Geschichte der Begriffe, Berlin, 1874 ; Neue Studien, Gotha, 
1876-79; Byk, Die vorsokratische Philosophie, Leipsic, 1875-77; Burnet, 
Early Greek Philosophy, London and Edinburgh, 1892 ; Mayor, A Sketch 
oj Ancient Philosojyhy from Thales to Cicero, Cambridge, 1881 ff. ; Benn, 
The Greek Philosophers, 2 vols., London, 1883 ; Windelband, Geschichte 
der griechischen Philosophie, 2d ed., Munich, 1894 ; Marshall, A Short 



_For the Patristic period : the polemical writings of the 
Fathers,^ especially the X070? irporpeiniKo^ irpo^ "EXX?;- 
m?, the Pedagog^ie^ and the arpay^ara of St. Clement of 
Alexandria, the Principles and the Anti-Celsus of Origen, 
the Apologeticus of Tertullian, the Institutiones divince of 
Lactantius, the City of God and the Confessions of St. 

For the Scholastic period: the De divisione naturce of 
Scotus Erigena, the Monologium^ the Proslogium^ and the 
Cior JDeus homo of St. Anselmus, the Theology^ the Ethics^ 
and the Dialectics of Abelard, the Sentences of Peter the Lom- 
bard, the Commentary of Averroes, the Sum of St. Thomas, 
the Qumstiones of Duns Scotus and Occam, the Opus majus 
of Roger Bacon, the writings of Raymundus LuUus, the 
historical works of Ritter, Cousin, and Haureau.^ 

History of Greek Philosophy, London, 1891 ; Chaignet, Histoire de la 
psychologic des Grecs, 5 vols., Paris, 1887-92 ; Ziegler, Die Ethik der 
Griechen und Romer, Bonn, 1881 ; Schmidt, Die Ethik der alien Grie- 
chen, 2 vols., Berlin, 1881 ; Kostlin, Die Ethik des klassischen Alter- 
//uims, Leipsic, 1887; Luthardt, Die antike Ethik, 1887; Walter, 
Gcschichte der Aesthetik im Alterthum, Leipsic, 1893; Rohde, Psyche, 
Seelenkult und Unsterhlichkeitsglauhe der Griechen, 2 vols., Freiburg, 
1890-94 ; Bergk, Griechische Litteraturgeschichte, 2 vols., Berlin, 1872, 
1883; K. O. Miiller, Die Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur, 2 vols., 
Stuttgart, 1882-84 ; Mahaffy, History of Classical Greek Literature, 
3 vols., 2d ed. London, 1892 ; Teulfel, Geschichte der romischen Litteror 
tur, 5th ed., Leipsic, 1890 ; Bender, Grundriss der romischen Litteratur- 
geschichte, 2d ed., Leipsic, 1889 (Engl, transl. from first ed. by Crowell 
& Richardson, Boston, 1884) ; Preller, Griechische Mythologie, 2 vols., 
Berlin, 1875 ; Lehrs, Populdre Aufsdtze aus dem Alterthum, 2d ed., 
Leipsic, 1875; Laurie, Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education^ 
London, 1895 (first published as a series of articles in the " School 
Review," May, 1893-April, 1895). For further references, see Ueber- 
weg-Heinze, § 7, pp. 27-33. Consult also the general histories of 
philosophy mentioned on pages 13 ff. — Tr.]. 

1 Collected by J. P. Migne, Paris, 1840 ff. 

2 [For primitive Christianity, patristic and scholastic philosophy^ 
consult, besides the general histories of philosophy mentioned on pages 



For the philosophy of the Renaissance : the De docta igno- 
rantia of Nicholas of Cusa, the De suUilitate and the Be 
rerum varietate of Cardanus, the De immortalitate animce 
of Pomponatius, the Animadversiones in dialecticam Ari- 
stotelis of Ramus, the Essais of Montaigne, the Triumphus 
pMlosophice^ the De rerum ceternitate^ and the De mundo of 
Taurellus, the Aurora of J. Boehme.^ 

13 if. : Drummond, Philo Judceus, or the Jewish- Alexandrian Philosophy 
in its Development and Completion, 2 vols., London, 1888 ; Deutinger, 
Geist der christlichen Ueberlieferung, Regensburg, 1850-51 ; Ritschl, 
Die Entstehung der alt.katholischen Kirche, 2d ed., Bonn, 1857 ; de Pres- 
sense, Histoire des trois premiers siecles de Veglise, Paris, 1858 ff. ; 
Baur, Das Christenthum der drei ersten Jahrhunderle, 2d ed., Tiibingen, 
1860; J. Alzog, Grundriss der Patrologie, 3d ed., Freiburg, 1876; 
Pfleiderer, Das Ur christenthum, Berlin, 1887; Stockl, Geschichte der 
Philosophie der patristischen Zeit, Wiirzburg, 1859 ; Huber, Die Philoso- 
phie der Kirchenvdter, Munich, 1859 ; Neander, Christliche Dogmenge- 
schichte, ed. by J. Jacobi, Berlin, 1857 ; Harnack, Lehrhuch der 
Dogmengeschichte, 3 vols., 2d ed., Freiburg, 1888-90 ; Donaldson, A 
Critical History of Christian Literature and Doctrine, 3 vols., London, 
1865-66 ; same author, The Apostolic Fathers, London, 1874 ; Ritter, 
Die christliche Philosophie, 2 vols., Gottingen, 1858-59 ; Rousselot, 
Etudes sur la philosophie dans le moyen-dge, Paris, 1840-42; Haureau, 
De la philosophie scolastique, 2 vols., Paris, 1850; same author, Histoire 
de la philosophie scolastique, 2d series, Paris, 1872-80 : Stockl, Geschichte 
der Philosophie des Mittelalters, 3 vols., Mayence, 1864-66; Baeumker, 
Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, Miinster, 1891 
ff. ; Renter, Die Geschichte der religiosen Aufkldrung im Mittelalter, 

2 vols., Berlin, 1875-77 ; W. Kaulich, Geschichte der scholastischen Phil- 
osophie, Prague, 1863; Werner, Die Scholastik des spdteren Mittelalters, 

3 vols., Vienna, 1881 ff. ; Gass, Geschichte der christlichen Ethik, Berlin, 
1881 ; Ziegler, Geschichte der christlichen Ethik, Strasburg, 1886 ; 2d 
ed., 1892; Luthardt, Geschichte der christlichen Ethik, 1888; Lecky, 
A History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne, 2 vols., 
London, 1869; 3d ed., 1877; Denifle, Die Universitdten des Mittelalters, 
Berlin, 1885; Laurie, The Rise and Early Constitution of Universities, 
New York, 1888. For further references, see Ueberweg-Heinze, vol. 
IL, §§ 1, 3,4ff.; §§ 19 fe.-TR.] 

' [For the Renaissance, see the general and modern histories of 
philosophy (pp. 12-16), and the following: Carrifere, Die philoso- 



For modern times : Bruno's Del infinito universo and De 
mo7iade, Campanella's Atheismus triumpliatus^ Philosophia 
scnsibus clemoiLstrata^ and De gentilismo, Francis Bacon's iVo- 
viwi orgamcm, Hobbes's De cive and De corpore^ Descartes's 
Discourse on Method and Princijjles, Malebranche's Recherche 
de la vcritc^ Spinoza's Ethics^ Locke's Essay concerning Hu- 
man Understanding., Leibniz's New Essays and Monadology^ 
Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge., Condillac's 
Treatise on Sensations^ Holbach's System of Nature^ the 
Essays of Hume and Reid, Kant's Critiques., Fichte's Science 
of Knowledge^ Schelling's System of Transcendental Idealism.^ 
Hegel's Logic and Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences., the 
Metaphysics and the Psychology of Herbart, Schopenhauer's 
World as Will and Idea., Comte's Course on Positive Phil- 
osophy., J. S. Mill's Logic, Herbert Spencer's First Prin- 
ciples., Albert Lange's History of Materialism^ Ed. von 
Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious., etc. ; likewise 
the chief works of modern scientific literature of general 
and therefore philosophical interest, like the Celestial 
Revolutions by Copernicus, the Mathematical Principles of 
Natural Philosophy by Newton, the Spirit of the Laws by 
Montesquieu, the Analytical Mechanics by Lagrange, the 
Natural History of the Heavens by Kant, the Celestial 
Mechanics and Exposition of the System of the World by 
Laplace, Darwin's book on the Origin of Species., etc. ; 

phische Weltanschauung der Reformation szeit, 1847, 2d ed., Leipsic, 
1887; Voigt, Die Wiederhehhung des classischen Alterthums, 1859; 3d 
ed., edited by Lehnerdt, 2 vols., Berlin, 1893 ; Burckhardt, Die Cultur 
der Renaissance, 2 vols, 1860, 4th ed. by L. Geiger, Leipsic, 1886 
(Engl, transl. by S. G. C. Middleman, London, 1878 and 1890) ; 
Geiger, Renaissance und Humanismus in Italien und Deutschland, Berlin, 
1882; Symonds, The Renaissance in Italy, 7 vols., London, 1875- 
1886 ; Peschel, Geschichte des Zeifalters der Entdeckungen, 2d ed., 
Leipsic, 1879. For further references, Ueberweg-Heinze, vol. III., 



finally, the historical works of Ritter,i Erdmann,^ Barchou 
de Penhoen,^ Michelet* (of Berlin), Willm,^ Chalybaeus,^ 
Bartholmess,^ Kuno Fischer,^ Zeller,^ Windelband,^^ etcJ^ 

1 Geschichte der neueren PhilosopJiie (vols. IX.-XII. of his Ge- 
schichte der PhilosopJiie) ^ 1850-53. 

2 Versuch einer loissenschaftlichen Darstellung der neueren Philosophiey 
6 vols., Riga and Leipsic, 1834-1853. 

2 Histoire de la philosophie allemande depuis Leibniz jusqu'a nos jours ^ 
Paris, 1836. 

* Geschichte der letzten Sysleme der Philosophie in Deutschland von 
Kant bis Hegel, 2 vols., Berlin 1837-38. 

^ Histoire de la philosophie allemande \puis Kant jusqu'a Hegel, 4 
vols., Paris, 1846-49. 

^ Historische Entwickelung der spekulaiiven Philosophie in Deutschland 
von Kant bis Hegel, Dresden, 1837, 5tli ed., 1860; Engl, translation, 

Histoire des doctrines religieuses de la philosophie moderne, 2 vols., 
Paris, 1855 ; Histoire philosophique de V Academic de Prusse, 2 volsc, Paris, 

s Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, 8 vols., Mannheim and Heidel- 
berg, 1854 ff.; [2ded., 1865 If.; 3d ed., vol. I., land 2, 1878, 1880; 
vol. II., 1889; vols. III. and IV., 1882; 2d ed., vol. V., 1885, vol. 
VI. 1895 ; vol. VII. (Hegel) not yet published ; vol. VIII. (Schopen- 
hauer), 1893. Engl, translation of vol. I., 1, by J. P. Gordy, New 
York, 1887; of vol. III., book 2, by J. P. Mahaffy, London, 1866; of 
vol. v., chaps, i.-v., by W. S. Hough, London, 1888. Baco und seine 
Nachfolger, 2d ed., Leipsic, 1875, Engl, translation by Oxenford, Lon- 
don, 18.57. — Tr.]. 

^ Geschichte der deutschen Philosophie seit Leibniz, Munich, 1872 ; 
2d ed., 1875. 

Geschichte der neuern Philosophie, vol. I., 1878, vol. II. 1880. 

[Lechler, Geschichte des englischen Deismus, Stuttgart and Tiibin- 
gen, 1841 ; Biedermann, Die deutsche Philosophie von Kant bis auj 
unsre Zeit, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1843; Damiron, Essai sur ^ histoire de la 
philosophie au 17"^ siecle, Paris, 1846 ; Fortlage, Genetische Geschichte 
der Philosophie seit Kant, Leipsic, 1852; Ch. de Remusat, Histoire de la 
philosophie en Angleterre, etc., 2 vols., Paris, 1875 ; Harms, Die Philo- 
sophic seit Kant, Berlin, 1876 ; Leslie Stephen, History of English 
Thouf/ht in the Eighteenth Century, London, 1876 ; Eucken, Geschichte 
und Kritik der Grundbegriffe der Gegenwart, Leipsic, 1878 ; 2d ed., 



For European philosophy in general : (Stanley 
Brucker,2 Tiedemann,^ Buhle,* Degerando,^ Tennemann,^ 

1893 (Engi. Stuart Phelps, 1880) ; Seth, From Kant to Hegel, 
London, 1882 ; Eucken, Beitriige zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, 
1886 ; Monrad, Denkrichtungen der neueren Zeit, Bonn, 1879 ; Hoffding, 
Einleitung in die englische Philosophie unserer Zeit (German transl. by 
Kurella), Leipsic, 1889 ; Bowen, Modern Philosophy, 6th ed., New 
York, 1891 ; Roberty, La philosophie du siecle, Paris, 1891 ; Royce, The 
Spirit of Modern Philosophy, ^N'ew York, 1892; Burt, A History of 
Modern Philosophy, 2 vols., Chicago, 1892 ; Falckenberg, Die Geschichte 
der neueren Philosophie, 2d ed., 1892 (Engl, transl. by A. C. Ai-mstrong, 
Jr., New York, 1893); Hoffding, Den Nyere Filosojie Historic, Kopenha- 
gen, vol. I., 1894 ; vol. 11. \vill be issued in 1895 ; German translation 
of both volumes, by Bendixen, in the press (O. Reisland, Leipsic) ; 
W. Whewell, History of the Inductive Sciences, London, 1837, 3d ed., 
1863 ; J. Schaller, Geschichte der Naturphilosophie seit Bacon, 2 vols., 
Leipsic, 1841-44 ; J. Baumann, Die Lehren von Raum, Zeit und Mathe- 
matik in der neueren Philosophie, 2 vols., Berlin, 1868-69; Konig, 
Die Entwickelung des Causalprohlems von Cartesius bis Kant, Leipsic, 
1888 ; same author, Die Entwickelung des Causalprohlems in der Phi- 
losophic seit Kant, 2 pts., Leipsic, 1889-90 ; Lasswitz, Geschichte der 
Atomistik vom Mittelalter his Newton, 2 vols., Hamburg and Leipsic, 
1890 ; Grimm, Zur Geschichte des Erkenntnissprohlems von Bacon his 
Hume, 1890 ; Vorlander, Geschichte der philosophischen Moral, Rechts-y 

^ [History of Philosophy, London, 1655 ; in Latin, 2 vols., Leipsic, 
1712. Also, Pierre Bayle, Dictionnaire historique et critique, 2 folio 
vols., 1695-97 ; 4th ed., revised and enlarged by Des Maizeaux, 4 folio 
vols., Amsterdam and Leyden, 1740 ; Boureau-Deslandes, Histoire 
critique de la philosophie, 3 vols., Paris, 1730-36 ff. — Tr.] 

2 Historia critica philosophice inde a mundi^'incunahilis, 6 vols., Leip- 
sic, 1742-67. 

3 Geist der spekulativen Philosophie, 6 vols., Marburg, 1791-97. 

* Lehrhuch der Geschichte der Philosophie, S vols., Gottingen, 1796- 

^ Histoire comparee des systemes de la philosophie, 3 vols., Paris,1803; 
2d ed., 4 vols., 1822-23. 

® Geschichte der Philosophie, 11 vols., Leipsic, 1798-1819 ; Grundriss 
der Geschichte der Philosophie, Leipsic, 1812 ; [Engl, transl. 1833 and 
1852 (Bohn's Library)]. 



Ritter,^ Hegel,^ Schwegler,^ Renouvier,* Nourrisson,* 
Cousin,^ Janet,'' Prantl,^ Lange,^ Erdmann,^^ Ueberweg,^^ 

und Staatslehre der Engldnder und Franzosen, Marburg, 1855 ; Mack- 
intosh, On the Progress of Ethical Philosophy during the 17th and ISth 
Centuries, Edinburgh, 1872; Jodl, Geschichie der Ethik in der neueren 
Philosophie, 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1882-89 ; Bluntschli, Geschichie des all- 
gemeinen Staatsrechts und der Politik seit dem 16. Jahrhundert, Munich, 
1864 ; O. Pfleiderer, lleligionsphilosophic aiif geschichtlicher Grundlage, 
2 vols., 3d ed., Berlin, 1893 (vol. I. : Geschichie der Religionsphilosojihie 
von Spinoza his zur Gegenwart) ; Engl, transl. by A. Stewart and A. 
Menzies, London, 1886-1888 ; PUnjer, Geschichie der christlichen He- 

* Geschichie der Philosophie, 12 vols., Hamburg, 1829-53. 

2 Vorlesungen iiber die Geschichie der Philosophie, published by 
Michelet, Berlin, 1833 (vols. XIII.-XV. of the Complete Works) ; 
[Engl, transl. by E. S. Haldane in 3 vols., London, 1892-1896. 

* Geschichie der Philosophie im Umriss, Stuttgart, 1848; 15th ed. 
1891 ; [Engl, translations by Seelye, Xew York, 1856 ff., and J. H. 
Stirling, 7th ed., Edinburgh, 1879]. 

* Manuel de philosophie ancienne, 2 vols., Paris, 1844; Manuel de 
philosophie moderne, Paris, 1842. 

^ Tableau des progres de la pense'e humaine depuis Thales jusqu'a 
Leibniz, Paris, 1858, 1860. 

^ Cows d'histoire de la philosophie, Paris, 1829 [Engl, transl. by 

0. W. Wight, 2 vols., New York, 1889. — Tr.] ; Histoire ge'nerale de 
la philosophie depuis les temps les plus anciens jusqiC au dix-neuvieme siecle, 
1 vol., Paris, 1863; 12th ed. published by Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire, 
Paris, 1884. 

Histoire de la philosophie morale et politique dans Vantiquite et dans 
les temps modernes, Paris, 1858. 

^ Geschichie der Logik im Abendlande, 4 vols., Leipsic, 1855 ff. 

^ Geschichie des Mater ialismus, 3d ed., Iserlohn, 1876-77; [Engl, 
transl. m 3 vols, by E. C. Thomas, London, 1878-81. — Tr.]. 

Grundriss der Geschichie der Philosophie, 2 vols., 3d ed., Berlin, 
1878 ; [4th ed. prepared by B. Erdmann, 1895 ; Engl, transl. 3 vols., 
ed. by W. S. Hough, London, 1890. — Tr.]. 

11 Grundriss der Geschichie der Philosophie, 3 vols., 7th ed., published 
and enlarged by Heinze, Berlin, 1888 ; [8th ed. vol. L, 1894, vol. IIL. 

1, 1896; Engl, transl. by G. S. Morris, New York, 1872-74. — Tr.J. 



Scholten,! Duhring,^ Lewes,^ Lefevre,* Alaux,^ Franck,^ 
Fouillee,^ Fabre,^ Kirchner.^ 

ligionspUlosopUe seit der Meformation, 2 vols., Braunschweig, 1880-83 ; 
Engl, traiisl. by W. Hastie, vol, I., Edinburgh and London, 1887; 
Dessoir, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Psychologie, vol. I., Berlin, 
1895; Buckle, History of Civilization in England, London, 1857-60; 
Draper, History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, New York, 
1863; Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rational- 
ism in Europe, London, 1865, 5th ed., 1872 ; Dean, The History of Civ- 
ilization, New York and London, 1869 ; Hettner, Litteratur geschichte 
des 18. Jahrhunderts, 3 parts, Braunschweig, 1862-70; Paulsen, Ge- 
schichte des gelehrten Unterrichts (from middle ages to the present time), 
Leipsic, 1885 ; Engl, transl. by E. D. Perry, New York and London, 
1895. For further references, see Falckenberg (trans.), pp. 15-17 ; also 
Ueberweg-LIeinze, vol. III., § 1 ff. ; and Windelband's History of 
Philosophy. — Tr.] 

1 History of Religion and Philosophy, 3d ed. much enlarged, 1868 
(Dutch) ; French transl. from 2d ed. by Reville, Paris and Strasburg, 
1861 ; German translation from 3d ed. by Redepenning, Elberfeld, 

2 Kritische Geschichte der Philosophic, 4th ed., Leipsic, 1894. 

^ A Biograp)hical History of Philosophy from its Origin iii Greece down 
to the Present Bay, 3d ed., London, 1863. 
^ La philosophic, Paris, 1879. 
^ Histoire de la philosophic, Paris, 1882. 
Dictionnaire des sciences philosophiques , 2d ed,, Paris, 1875. 
Histoire de la philosophic, Paris, 1875,4th ed., 1883; Extraits des 
grands philosophes, Paris, 1877. 

^ Histoire de la philosophic, Paris, 1877. 

^ Katechismus der Geschichte der Philosophic, Leipsic, 1878 ; 2d ed., 
1884. [To these may be added : Trendelenburg, Historische Beitrdge zur 
Philosophic, 3 vols., Berlin, 1846-67 ; Zeller, Vortrage und Ahhandlungen, 
3 series, 1865-84; Hartenstein, Ilistorisch-philosophische Ahhandlungen, 
Leipsic, 1870; Sigwart, Kleinc Schriffen, 2 vols , 1881; 2d ed., 1889; 
Eucken, Lehensanschauungen der grossen Denker, Leipsic, 1890; Bau- 
mann, Geschichte der Philosophie, 1890; Windelband, Geschichte der 
Philosophic, Freiburp^, 1892 (Engl, transl. by J. H. Tufts, London and 
New York, 1893) ; Bergmann, Geschichte der Philosophie, 2 vols., Berlin, 
1892-94; Deussen, Allgemeine Geschichte der Philosophie, in six parts, 
vol. I., part 1, Leipsic, 1894; Willmann, Geschichte des Idealismus, 



3 vols., vol. I., Braunschweig, 1894. For further references, see Ueber- 
weg-Heinze, vol. I., § 4, Falckenberg, and Windelband. Histories of 
special philosophical sciences : Prantl (mentioned above) ; Harms, 
Die Philosophic in ihrer Geschichte, vol. I., Psychologies vol. II., Logik, 
Berlin, 1877, 1881 ; Siebeck, Geschichte der Psychologic, Gotha, 1880- 
84 ; Sidgwick, History of Ethics, London and New York, 3d ed., 1892 ; 
Paulsen, System der Ethik, 2 vols., 3d ed., Berlin, 1894 (vol. I., pp. 
31-191, contains a history of ethics) ; Paul Janet, Histoire de la 
science politique dans ses rapports avec la morale, 3d ed., Paris ; same 
author's History of Ethics, mentioned above ; Bosanquet, The History 
of Esthetics, London and New York, 1892 ; Flint, History of the 
Philosophy of History, New York, 1894. For further references, see 
Ueberweg-Heinze, vol. I., § 4, pp. 8-15 ; Windelband (transL), pp. 20, 
21 1 and Falckenberg, pp. 15-17, 628-629. The following are the 
most important philosophical journals : The Philosophical Review, vol. 
4, 1895 ; Mind, New Series, vol. 4 ; The Monist, vol. 5 ; The Amer- 
ican Journal of Psychology, vol. 6 ; The Psychological Review, vol. 
2 ; International Journal of Ethics, vol. 5 ; Zeitschrift fur Philosophic 
und philosophischc Kritik, New Series, vol. 106 ; Vierteljahresschrift 
fiir wissenschaftliche Philosophic, vol. 18 ; Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 
vol. 8 ; Zeitschrift fiir Philosophic und Pedagogik, vol. 2 ; Jahrbuch 
fiir Philosophic und spekulative Theologie, vol. 9 ; Zeitschrift fiir exacte 
Philosophic, vol. 21 ; Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophic, vol. 8 ; Archiv 
fiir systematische Philosophic (N^w Series of the Philosophischc Monats- 
hefte), vol. 1; Philosophischc Studien, vol. 11; Zeitschrift far Psy- 
chologic und Physiologic der Sinnesorganc, vol. 8 ; Zeitschrift fiir Volker- 
psychologie und Sprachwissenschaft, vol. 25 ; Revue philosophique, vol 20 ; 
Revue de metaphysique et de morale, vol. 3 ; Uannce philosophique, vol. 5, 
1894 ; L'annee psychologique, vol. 1 ; Rivista Italiana di Filosofa, vol. 9. 
The following American and English philosophical series are of value 
to the student of philosophy : Griggs's Philosophical Classics (German 
philosophers), G. S. Morris, editor, Chicago ; Philosophical Classics foi 
English Readers, W. Knight, editor, Philadelphia and Edinburgh ; 
Series of Modern Philosophers, E. H. Sneath, editor. New York ; Ethical 
Series, E. H. Sneath, editor, Boston ; The Library of Philosophy, J. H. 
Muirhead, editor, London and New York ; The English and Foreign 
Philosophical Library, London ; Ethical Library, J. H. Muirhead, editor, 
London and New York ; Bohn Library, London. The most extensive 
German collection of philosophical works is the Philosophischc Bibli- 
othek, J. H. von Kirchmann, editor, Heidelberg. Felix Alcan, Paris, 
publishes the Bibliotheque de Philosophic. — Tr.] 







§ 4. Origin of Greek Philosophy ^ 

I'^E philosophy of the Hellenes emancipates itself from 
their religion in the form of theology and gnomic mo- 
rality.2 Aryan naturalism, modified by the national genius 

1 [Cf. chapters on mythology, etc., in Grote's History of Greece 
(cited page 8) ; Preller's Mythologie (cited page 9) ; Lehrs, Populdre 
Aufmtze (cited page 9) ; and histories of Greek philosophy. — Tr.] 

2 That is to say, philosophy is of comparatively recent origin, while 
religion, which precedes it historically, is as old as nations and hu- 
manity itself. Philosophy, being a late product of human develop- 
ment, plays but a subordinate and intermittent part in history. 
Religion, on the other hand, guides its destinies. It is the primordial 
and permanent expression of what lies at the very root of our nature, 
that is, the will, and consists essentially in the will to &e, until the evolu- 
tion of consciousness enables it to foresee its highest and absolute 
end, the good. To will-to-live means to resist annihilation, conse- 
quently, to dread everything that is supposed to have the power of 
destroying and of preserving life. Now, the horror of death and of 
the forces which produce it, the passionate desire for life and what- 
ever is able to preserve it, is precisely what constitutes the essence of 
fvae^eia, the characteristic trait of the religious phenomenon. This 
is so true that we find the belief in immortality and the worship of 
the dead as beings that continue to live in spite of all, intimately con- 
nected with all religions. Sach a belief simply represents the desire 
of the will-to-live to continue even after death and beyond the grave. 




and the physical conditions under which it developed, 
forms its starting-point. This naturalism had passed the 
period of infancy long before the appearance of philoso- 
phy. The luminous Ether (Diaus-Zeus), the Sun and 
its fire (Apollo), the Storm-cloud and its thunderbolts 
(Pallas-Athene), were originally taken for the gods them- 
selves. Just as the child transforms its surroundings 
into an enchanted world, and regards its doll and wooden 
horse as living beings, so the humanity-child makes na- 
ture after its own image. For the contemporaries of 
Homer and Hesiod, such objects are merely the sensible 
manifestations of the invisible divinity concealed behind 
them, a being that is similar to the human soul, but superior 
to it in power, and, like it, invested with immortality. The 
gods form a kind of idealized, transcendent humanity, 
whose vices as well as virtues are magnified. The world 
is their work, their empire, the theatre of their wishes, 

The Old Testament, which might be cited against us, and which is cer- 
tainly far from being explicit on the subject of individual immortality, 
is so much the more outspoken on the question of the immortality of 
Israel. Nay, the immortality of Israel is its fundamental dogma. It 
has been well said, men would have no religion at all if there were no 
death ; and the essence of the religious phenomenon was excellently 
characterized by the preacher who once remarked : " I never have such 
well-disposed hearers as on Good Friday, and what makes them so 
religious is the memento mori" Hence we may define religion as fol- 
lows : Subjectively, it is the fear with which the givers of life and 
death, be they real or imaginary, inspire us ; objectively, it is the sum 
of ideas, doctrines, and institutions resulting from this feeling. 
Religious theory, or tlieology, and religious practice, or worship, the orig- 
inal form of morality, are constitutive, but derived and secondary 
elements, the products of an essentially emotional, instinctive, and 
sesthetical phenomenon called religion. By reflecting upon itself 
religion becomes theology ; theology, in its turn, reflects upon itself, 
and becomes religious criticism, philosophy (Xenophanes). [Concern- 
ing the origin and evolution of religion, see Paulsen's Introduction to 
Philosophy, pp. 266 fE.] 



defeats, and triumphs. Man, whom they envy rather than 
love, exists for their pleasure. They are the highest 
personifications of the will-to-live, and are jealous of their 
unquestioned superiority; hence they deny him perfect 
happiness. The most assiduous worship, the richest sacri- 
fices, the most perfect fidelity, cannot move them when our 
prosperity displeases them. Hence the melancholy which 
breathes in the gnomic poetry of a Solon or a Theognis, 
who prefer death to life, and esteem them happy who have 
never been born or who die young.^ 

In the measure in which the moral conscience is devel- 
oped and refined, religious ideas are transformed and spirit- 
ualized. The gods of Homer, who reflect the exuberant, 
versatile, and quarrelsome youth of the Hellenic nation, are 
succeeded by the just and wise gods, the creations of its 
riper manhood (Pindar, jEschylus, Sophocles). This qual- 
itative transformation of the religious ideas is accompanied 
by a quantitative transformation. Polytheism aims at 
greater simplicity. The good, which the will perceives as 
its highest end, is synonymous with harmony, and harmony 
means unity in diversity. Religious and moral progress is, 
in consequence, a progress in the unitary and monotheistic 

The moral consciousness, which among the Greeks is 
identical with the sense of the beautiful, finds a powerful 
ally in reason and its natural tendency to unity. Guided 
by the monistic instinct, theology asks itself the question, 
"Who is the oldest of the gods, and in what order do they 
spring from their common Father ? and receives an answer 
in the theogonies of Hesiod, Pherecydes of Syros,^ and 
Orpheus.^ Here, for the first time, the philosophical spirit 

^ Cf. Zeller, vol. T., Introduction. 

2 Pherecydis fragmenta coll. et illustr. Fr. G. Sturz, 2d ed., Leipsic, 

3 See concerning Orphens the scholarly work of Lobeck, Aglaopha' 
mus sive de theologice mysticoi Grcecorum causis, 2 vols., 1829. 



finds satisfaction; these fantastic conceptions are anticipa- 
tions of the rational explanation of nature. 

To conscience and reason a third factor, experience, is 
added. This, too, assists in the transformation of religious 
ideas by demonstrating, with increasing evidence, the im- 
possibility of explaining all phenomena, without exception, 
by capricious wills. The facts of mathematics, because 
of their universality and necessity, especially defy theo- 
logical interpretation ; how indeed can we assume the fact 
that twice two is four or that the three angles of a triangle 
are equal to two right angles, to be the result of caprice 
and not of absolute necessity ? In the same way the obser- 
vation of astronomical and physical facts, and their constant 
regularity and periodicity, gives rise to the idea of a Will 
that is superior to the whims of the gods {avd'yKr]^ aSpdareLa^ 
fjLolpa^ Tvx^)^ of an immutable Justice (Si/crj^ el/jLap/jLevi]), of 
a divine Law {deio<; vo/no^)^ of a supreme Intelligence (Oelo^ 
\6yo<;^ Oelo^ vov<;). The pioneers of philosophy, men like 
Thales, Xenophanes, and Pythagoras, who were the first 
to protest against theological anthropomorphism, were like- 
wise mathematicians, naturalists, and astronomers, if we 
may so designate men who had an elementary knowledge 
of the course of the stars, the properties of numbers, and 
the nature of bodies. 

Pliilosophy dates her origin from the day when these 
physicians, as Aristotle terms them in distinction from 
their predecessors, the theologians, relegated the traditional 
gods to the domain of fable, and explained nature by prin- 
ciples and causes {ap')(al /cal atria). Emerging as she did 
from the conflict between reason and religious authority, 
which sought revenge by systematically accusing her of 
atheism and treason, philosophy did not at once cast off 
the mythological garb. She loved to express herself in the 
rhythmical language of the poets; and even her concep- 
tions retained the marks of tlic religious faith from which 



she sprang. The gods are not abolished ; they are restored 
to their true nature, and regarded as elements (aroi^ela). 
Following the example of theology, philosophy begins to 
ask herself the question, What is the primitive element, 
the one that precedes the others in dignity and in time, 
and from which, consequently, the others have been gen- 
erated ? The theogonies become cosmogonies, and the only 
important question concerning which the first thinkers 
differ is the question as to what constitutes the primor- 
dial natural force, the principle (apxv)- 

§ 5. The School of Miletus. Thales, Anaximander, 
Anaximenes ^ 

1. Thales,2 the head of what may be called the school 
of Miletus, and the father of all the Ionian schools, lived 
about 600 B. c. According to him, water is the first prin- 
ciple, the universal substratum, of which the other bodies 
are merely modifications ; water envelops the earth on all 
sides ; the earth floats upon tliis infinite ocean, and con- 
stantly derives from it the nourishment it needs. 

This doctrine is the old Aryan myth of the heavenly 
Okeanos translated into scientific language : the water of 
the storm-cloud fructifies the earth and is the father of 
all living things.^ It is all we know positively of the 
philosophy of Thales. He is, moreover, represented to us 
by antiquity as the first geometrician, the first astronomer, 
and the first physicist among the Greeks. He is said to 

1 [For the pre-Socratics, see the collections of Fragments, Teich- 
miiller's Studien and Neue Studien, Byk, Burnet, etc., cited above. 
Translations of the Fragments found in Burnet. See also Ritter, 
Geschichte der ionischen Philosophie, Berlin, 1821. — Krische, For- 
schungen auf dem Gehiet der alien Philosophie, Gottingen, 1840. — Tr.] 

2 Chief source. Met, I., 3; [Ritter and Preller, 7th ed., pp. 6-11. - 

«^ Plato, Cratylus, 402 B. 



have predicted the eclipse of the 28th of May, 585, and to 
have been acquainted with the phenomenon of magnetism, 
as well [as with the attractive property of polished amber 

2. According to Anaximander,i a fellow-countryman 
and disciple of Thales, the author of a work O71 Nature^ the 
first principle is not water, but the infinite atmosphere (to 
direcpov), from which it comes in order to fructify the earth. 
This infinite, indistinct matter is the mother of the heavens 
and the worlds which they encompass (rcov ovpavcov /cal tmp 
iv avTol<; k6(t/jlcoi>). Everything that exists owes its being 
to the first principle, and arises from it by separation ; it is 
therefore just that everything render to it, at the hour 
appointed by Fate, the life which Fate has given it, in order 
that this life may circulate and pass to new beings. The 
opposites, warm and cold, dry and moist, which do not 
exist in the aireipov^ the primitive chaos where everything 
is neutralized, are gradually parted off, and form nature, 
with its contraries, its opposite qualities, and separate ele- 
ments. The first opposition is that between the warm and 
dry, on the one hand, and the cold and moist, on the other ; 
the former occurring in the earth, the latter in the heavens 
which surround it. The earth is a cylindrical body, and 
floats freely in the infinite ether, being held in equilibrium 
because of its equal distance from all the other heavenly 
bodies {hia rrjv 61x0 Cav iravrcov airocTTacnv). There are an 
infinite number of worlds (^eot), which are alternately 
formed and destroyed. The first animals were produced 

1 Sources: Aristotle, Met, XIL, 2; Phys., III., 4; SimpUcius, In 
Phys., i. 6, 32 ; Plutarch, in Eusebius, Proep. evang., I., 8; Hippolytus, 
Refut. hceres., I., 6; Cicero, De nat. deor., I., 10; Schleiermacher, Ueber 
Anaximandros, Complete Works, 3d series, vol. II., pp. 171-296; Ritter 
and Preller, pp. 12-19; [Mullach, Fragmenta, I., p. 240; Burnet, pp. 
47 ff. — Tr] ; C. Mallet, Histoire de la philosophie ionienne, Paris, 1842; 
[Teichmuller, Studien and Neue Studien. — Tr.]. 



in the water, and from them the more advanced species 
gradually arose. Man sprang from the fish. Individuals 
and species constantly change, but the substance whence 
they are derived, the aireipov^ is indestructible {d(f)6apTov^ 
aOdvaTov^ dvcoXeOpov), because it is uncreated {dyevprjTov), 
It envelops everything, produces everything, governs ev- 
erything {irepie^et diravra Koi wavra icv^epva). It is the 
supreme divinity (to delov)^ possessing a perpetual vitality 
of its own. 

3. Anaximenes 1 of Miletus, the disciple of Anaximan- 
der and third representative of the Ionian philosophy, calls 
the generative principle of things air or breath {arjp^ Trvevfia^ 
^^vxv)' His philosophy, which is a more exact formulation 
of Anaximander's doctrine, may be summarized in the fol- 
lowing words : infinite matter, a perpetual motion of con- 
densation and rarefaction that is something like a plastic 
principle, necessity directing the motion (Sl/ct], dvay/cTj). 
Matter, motion, motive force, directing necessity : we find 
among the lonians all the elements of the explanations 
of nature attempted afterwards. But their systems are 
like rudimentary organisms. The perfection of a living 
being depends upon the greater or less differentiation of its 
organs; the more its constitutive parts differ from each 
other and become specialized, the higher it rises in the 
scale of beings. Now, the Ionian philosophy is, when com- 
pared with that of Aristotle, perfectly uniform. Thales 
regards water, Anaximenes air, as substratum, motive force, 
and fate, or the law of motion.^ Progress in science, as 
well as in nature, is made possible by the division of labor, 
by differentiation of the constitutive elements of being, by 
the multiplication and opposition of systems. 

^ Plutarch, in Eusebius, Proep. evang., I., 8; Cicero, De nat. deor.^ 
I., 10 ; Schleiermacher, Ueher Diogenes von Apollonia (loc. cit.) ; Ritter 
and Preller, pp. 20-23 ; [Burnet, pp. 79 fE. — Tr.]. 

2 Aristotle, Met., I., 10, 2. 



§ 6. The Problem of Becoming 

1. The first question that arouses controversy is the 
problem of becoming. Being persists, beings constantly 
change ; they are born and they pass away. How can being 
both persist and not persist ? Reflection upon this problem, 
the metaphysical problem par excellence^ since it lies at the 
root of all the sciences and dominates all questions, gives 
rise to three systems, the tyj^es of all European philoso- 
phies, — the Eleatic system ; the system of Heraclitus ; the 
atomistic system, which was proclaimed in the idealistic 
sense by the Pythagoreans, in the materialistic sense by 
Leucippus and Democritus, and with a dualistic turn by 
Anaxagoras. The first two are radical; each suppresses 
one of the terms of the antinomy ; the third is a doctrine 
of conciliation. According to the Eleatic hypothesis, being 
is everything, change is but phenomenal ; according to 
Heraclitus, change is everything, and being, or permanence, 
is but an illusion ; according to the monadists and atomists, 
both permanence and change exist : permanence in the he- 
ings,^ perpetual change in their relations. The Eleatics 
deny becoming ; Heraclitus makes a god of it ; the atomists 
explain it. 


A. Negation of Becoming 

§ 7. Eleatic Philosophy. Xenophanes, Parmenides, 
Melissus, Zeuo, Gorgias ^ 

At the time when Anaximander flourished in Miletus, 
another Ionian, Xenophanes of Colophon, immigrated into 

^ Considered by the Pythagoreans as ideal unities or numbers ; by 
the atomists as real or material unities. 

2 [Karsten, Philosophorum gro2corum veterum operum reliquiae, 2 vols., 
Amsterdam, 1835 . ; Bergk, Commentatio de ArisU lihello de Xeno 
phane, etc., Marburg, 1843. — Tr.] 



Magna Grsecia, travelled through the cities as a philosopher 
and rhapsodist, and finally settled in Elea in Lucania, 
where he gained adherents. His theological innovations 
were developed and systematized by Parmenides of Elea 
and Melissus of Samos, who raised them to the dignity of 
a metaphysic. Zeno of Elea, the disciple of Parmenides, 
undertook to defend them by means of dialectics, thereby 
becoming the precursor of the Sophists. 

1. Xenophanes 1 is a decided opponent of the national 
mythology, towards which he assumes a similar attitude 
to that of the Hebrew prophets who raised their powerful 
voices against polytheism and its empty conceptions. His 
written and spoken words proclaim him as the real creator 
of philosophical monotheism, which he identifies with pan- 
theism. With an eloquence that is full of irony, his satires, 
some fragments of which are extant, combat the error of 
those who infinitely multiply the divine Being, who attrib- 
ute to him a human form (anthropomorphism) and human 
passions (anthropopathism). There is one God, he says, 
one only God, comparable to the gods of Homer or to mor- 
tals neither in form nor in thought. This God is all eye, 
all ear, all thought. Being immutable and immovable, he 
has no need of going about, now hither, now thither, in 
order to carry out his wishes, but without toil he governs 

^ Aristotle (?), De Xenophane, Zenone, el Gorgia ; Clement of Alex., 
Irprnfiara, V., p. 601 C ; ibid., p. 711 B; Buhle, Commentatio de ortu et 
progressu pantJieismi inde a Xenophane, etc., Gott., 1790; V. Cousin, 
Xenophane, fondateur de Vecole d'Elee (in the Nouveaux fragments phi- 
losophiques), Paris, 1828 ; Kern, Quresdones Xenophanece, JsTaumburg, 
1846; Mullach, Fragmenta, I., pp. 101 fE. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 75- 
84; [Burnet, pp. 11.5 ff.] ; J. Freudenthal, Ueber die Theologie des 
Xenophanes, Breslau, 1886. Freudenthal bases his view partly on 
the words iv rois Ocola-i (Mullach, p. 101), and makes Xenophanes 
a polytheist. This is a strange misconception of the spirit for the 
letter, and would be like reckoning Spinoza among the theists, becaiiSQ 
he calls nature God, and God a thinking thing. 



all things by his thought alone. Mortals, of course, accept 
the authority of Homer and Hesiocl, and think that the gods 
are born as they are, and like them have feeling, voice, 
and body ; and they ascribe to the gods all things that are 
a shame and disgrace among men, — • theft, adultery, and 
falsehood. They do as the oxen or lions would do if they 
could paint : they would certainly represent their gods 
in the form of lions or oxen. In place of these imaginary 
beings, let us adore the one infinite Being, who bears us in 
his bosom, and in whom there is neither generation nor 
corruption, neither change nor origin.^ 

2. Parmenides 2 completes the teachings of his master, 
and makes them the starting-point for a strictly monistic 

1 MuUach, pp. 101-102 : 

Elf Oeos €u T€ Beolai Kai dvOpoinoicn jxeyicTTOSj 
ovTe dejxas 6vr]To'iaiv oixoi'ios ovre voijpa. 

OvXos opa, ovXos de uo€i, ovXos r aKovci. 

'AXX* aTrdvevBe novoio voov (f)pevi iravra Kpabaivet, 

Atet S' €V ravrS re peveiv Kivovpcvov ovScv, 
ovde perepx^adai piu eViTrpeTrei aXXore aWrj. 

dXXa ^poToi doKiOvai 6eovs ycvvacrOai 
Triv a(f)€T€pr]v r ata-drjaiv e;^6t^' (pcovrjv re Sepas re. 

Havra Oeols dveOrjKav" Otxrjpos & 'Ha-ioSo? re 
oacra irap dvOpwiroimv oveidea /cat y^Aoyos eVrtV, 
Ka\ irXelar icfydey^avro OeSiV dOcplaTia epya, 
KXenreiVi poL^^eveiv re Kai dXXrjXovs dnarevetv. 

AXX' eiTOi x^^P^^ y ^^X^^ /3oes rje Xeovres, 
T) ypd^l^ai ;(eipeora-i Kai epya reXelv direp ai/Spey, 
iiriroi pev 6* Iniroiari, /3oey de re /Soucriv opoias 
Kal Kc decov Ideas eypacjiov 

2 Sextus Empiricus, Adv. math., VIL, 111 ; Simplicius, Inphys., f. 7, 
9, 19, 25, 31, 38 ; Proclus, Comment, in Plat. Timceum, p. 105 ; Clem, 
of Alex., Strom., V., pp. 552 D, 614 A ; MuUach, Fragm. phil. gr., 
L, pp. 109 ft'.; Ritter and PreUer, pp. 85 ff.; [Burnet, pp. 218 fe.]. 



system. Since there is no change in God, and since God 
is everything, that which we call change (aXkoLovaOat) is 
but an appearance, an illusion (Sofa), and there is in 
reality neither origin nor decay. The eternal being alone 
exists: this thesis forms the subject of a philosojAical 
poem, the fragments of which are the most ancient monu- 
ment in our possession of metaphysical speculation proper 
among the Greeks. In the first part, dedicated to Truth, 
he demonstrates by means of specious arguments that our 
notions of change, plurality, and limitation contradict 
reason. In the second part, which deals with the merely 
illusory, he attempts to give an explanation of nature from 
the standpoint of illusion. 

Starting out with the idea of being, he proves that that 
which is cannot have become what it is, nor can it cease 
to be, nor become something else ; for if being has begun to 
exist, it has come either from being or non-being. Now, 
in the former case, it is its own product, it has created 
itself, which is equivalent to saying that it has not origi- 
nated, — that it is eternal. The latter case supposes that 
something can come from nothing, which is absurd. For 
the same reasons, that which exists can neither change nor 
perish, for in death it would pass either into being or into 
non-being. If being is changed into being, then it does 
not change ; and to assume that it becomes nothing is as 
impossible as to make it come from nothing. Consequently 
being is eternal. It is, moreover, immovable ; for it could 
move only in space ; now space is or is not ; if space is, it 
is identical with being, and to say of being that it is moved 
in space is to say that being is moved in being, which 
means that it is at rest. If space is nothing, there cannot 
be any movement either, for movement is possible only in 
space. Hence, movement cannot be conceived in any way, 
and is but an appearance. Being is a continuous (crvvex^^) 
and indivisible whole. There is no void anywhere. There 



is no break between being and being ; consequently these 
are no atoms. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, 
that there existed a void, a break between the assumed 
parts of the universe. If this interval is something real, 
it is what being is, it continues being, instead of interrupt- 
ing it ; it unites the bodies instead of dividing them into 
parts. If the void does not exist, then it can no longer 
divide them. There is then no interval between being 
and being, and all beings constitute but one single being. 
Being (the universe) is absolute and self-sufficient ; it has 
neither desires nor wants nor feelings of any kind. If it 
were relative, it could depend only on that which is or on 
that which is not. If being depends on being, it depends 
upon itself or is independent ; if it depends on that which 
does not exist, it is still independent ; which excludes from 
it all desire, all need, all feeling. When one is everything, 
one has no desires. Finally, being is one; for a second 
being or a third being would be but a continuation of it, 
that is, itself. Hence, to sum up: Being can only be 
conceived as eternal, immutable, immovable, continuous, 
indivisible, infinite, unique. There is for the thinker but 
one single being, the All-One, in whom all individual dif- 
ferences are merged. The being that thinks and the being 
that is thought are the same thing (tcovtov 8' earl voelv re 
KoX ovvefcev iart vorujLo)} 

In the second part of his poem, Parmenides deals with 
opinion (Sofa), Avhich depends on the senses and is con- 
cerned with what is merely illusory. The universe, which 
reason conceives as an indivisible unity, is divided by the 
senses into two realms or rival elements: night or cold; 
and light, fire, or heat. The universe, which to reason is 
without beginning or end, has its apparent origin, its genesis ; 
and this genesis is the successive victory of the principle of 

1 Simplicius In Phys., f. 19 A, 31 B. 



light over the principle of darkness. Night is the mother, 
the luminous principle is the father, of all forms (etBr]), 
The world shows the traces of the two elements to which 
it owes its origin even in its smallest parts. The warm 
and the cold, the clear and the obscure, are universally 
combined in constant proportions. The universe is com- 
posed of a series of concentric spheres, in which the light 
and warm spheres alternate with the dark and cold spheres. 
The outermost sphere, which encloses all the rest (to 
7repLexov\ is solid, cold, and dark ; beneath it lies the fiery 
sphere of the fixed stars ('OXv/jltto^ ecrp^aro?). The central 
sphere is also solid and cold, but it is surrounded by a 
sphere of light and life. This fiery sphere which encircles 
the solid core of the earth is the source of movement 
(that is, of illusion the hearth of universal life {earla tov 
Traz^To?), the seat of the Divinity (AaL/jL(ov\ the Queen of 
the world {Kvj^epvr]T7]<^\ Justice (Alkt]), Necessity (AvdyKTj), 
the Mother of Love (Ac^poSlttj). 

These doctrines, which partially reproduce Ionian and 
Pythagorean speculations, are not offered as the truth, but 
as hypotheses intended to orient us in the world of illu- 
sion. They have not for Parmenides the importance which 
they have for the lonians. Inasmuch as he does not grant 
the existence of motion, but rejects as illusory that which 
constitutes the essence of nature, he accepts no other science 
than metaphysics, no other metaphysics than that of a priori 
reasoning. On account of the opposition which he creates 
between the real and the intelligible, he is the chief fore- 
runner of Platonic idealism, without, however, being a spir- 
itualist in the modern sense. Spiritualism distinguishes 
between corporeal substance and soul-substance ; Eleatic 
metaphysics makes no such distinction. The being which 
it affirms is neither body nor soul, neither matter nor 
spirit ; it is being, nothing but being ; and everything else 

^ Of. the Maja of the Hindoos, the mother of illusions. 



is merely an accident, an appearance, an illusion. Nay, if 
we interpret the word matter in the subtle, metaphysical 
sense of substance or universal substratum^ we may reckon 
Parmenides among the materialists, like his modern imi- 
tator Spinoza. But it would be a mistake to call him a 
materialist in the sense in which the term is applied to 
Democritus and the modern materialists ; for materialism, 
properly so-called, exists only in opposition to spiritualism, 
which is later than Parmenides. The monism of Par- 
menides and Heraclitus is like the block of marble which 
may be formed into a basin or a Jupiter, or like the mother- 
cell from which, according to circumstances, a Socrates 
or an Erostratus may come ; it is capable of being differ- 
entiated and developed into materialistic or spiritualistic 

3. Plato deduces idealism from it, while Melisstjs of 
Samos^ (440) interprets it in an altogether materialistic 
sense. This philosopher, who was also a brave general and 
a clever politician, opposes the Ionian cosmogonies with 
the Eleatic doctrine of the eternity of the world. If 
becoming is impossible, it is henceforth useless and absurd 
to inquire into the manner in which the universe originated. 
Being (to 6v) is infinite in time, and — which is contrary 
to the view of Parmenides, who conceived it as a sphere — 
infinite in space {(oairep earl aiel^ ovtco /cal to /xeya^o? aTretpov 
alel xpv eZmt). This latter trait, which leaves no doubt as 
to the materialism of Melissus, gives his system a wholly 
modern stamp, and distinguishes it from most of the an- 
cient systems, particularly from that of Aristotle. For the 
Greek, who judges of things artistically, regards the infi- 
nite as the imperfect, as without limitation ; and the uni- 
verse, which is the acme of perfection, is surely the perfect 

1 The author of a book, Trfpi roC oVro? (in the Ionian dialect), quoted 
In different passages by Siinplicius, In Phys., f . 22, and passim ; [Ritter 
and Preller pp. 106-111 ; Mullach, I., pp. 261 ff. ; Burnet, 338 ff. — Tr.]. 



sphere, one half of which is revealed to us by the sense of 
sight, and of which the earth is the centre. 

4. Zeno,^ a pupil and follower of Parmenides, is the 
controversialist of the school, the inventor of the process 
of demonstration called reductio ad absurdum^ the father of 
dialectics and sophistry. The One alone is conceivable ; 
extension, magnitude, motion, and space, cannot be con- 
ceived. If there is such a thing as a (limited) magnitude, 
it must be infinitely great and infinitely small : infinitely 
great, because, being infinitely divisible, it is composed of 
an infinite number of parts ; infinitely small, because unex- 
tended parts, even though multiplied by infinity, cannot 
produce extension or magnitude. 

Movement cannot be conceived ; for the line which sep- 
arates its starting-point from its point of rest is composed 
of points, and, since the point has no extension, of an infi- 
nite number of points. Hence every distance, even the 
smallest, is infinite, and the stopping-point can never be 
reached. However near you may imagine the swift 
Achilles to be to the slow tortoise, he will never be able 
to overtake it, since, in order to do so, he would first have 
to pass over one half of the distance, however small, which 
separates him from the tortoise, and, in order to pass over 
this half, he would first have to pass over the half of the 
half, and so on to infinity. The infinite divisibility of the 
line is for him an insurmountable obstacle. You have an 
idea that the arrow flies through space. But in order to 
reach its destination, it must pass over a series of points in 
space; hence it must successively occupy these different 
points. Now, to occupy a point of space, at a given mo- 
ment, means to be at rest : therefore the arrow is at rest 
and its movement is but illusory. 

1 Aristotle, Phys., VI., 2, 9 ; Simplicius, In Phys., f. 30, 130, 255; 
Mullach, I., pp. 266 ff. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 100 ff. ; [Burnet, pp. 
328 ff.]. 



Furthermore, if movement takes place, it can take place 
only in space. Now, if space is a reality, it exists some- 
where, that is, in a space, which in turn exists in another 
space, and so on ek awetpov. Motion is, therefore, impos- 
sible from every point of view, and we cannot suppose it 
to be real, unless we are willing to afifirm an absurdity. 
Being alone exists, and this being is immutable matter.^ 

5. GoKGiAS 2 of Leontinum, the rhetorician, a pupil of 
Zeno, who was sent by his country as an ambassador to 
Athens in 427, deduces the ultimate consequences from the 
Eleatic principle and ends in nihilism. He is not, like 
Zeno, content with denying motion and space ; as his 
treatise, Trepl rod fir] ovro^ rj irepl cj^vaem, shows, he negates 
being itself. Nothing exists, he says ; for if a being existed, 
it would have to be eternal, as was proved by Parmenides. 
Now, an eternal being is infinite. But an infinite being 
cannot exist in space or in time without being limited by 
them. Hence it is nowhere, and that which is nowhere 
does not exist. And even if, assuming the impossible, 
something did exist, we could not know it ; and even if we 
could, this knowledge could not in any wise be communi- 
cated to others. 

Gorgias is the enfant terrible of the Eleatic school, whose 
extravagances turn the tide in favor of the Heraclitean 
principle : Being is nothing, becoming is everything. The 
being of Parmenides and Zeno, which is eternal and im- 
mutable, but devoid of all positive attributes, is, in fact, a 
mere abstraction. It resembles the garment of the king, 
the fine texture of which everybody pretended to admire, 
until, at last, a little child exclaimed, in the simplicity of 
its heart : Why, the king is naked ! " 

1 Aristotle, Met, III., 4, 41. 

2 Aristotle, De Xenophane, Zenone, et Gorgia ; Sextus Empir., Adv. 
viathy VII., 65, 77 ; Ritter and Preller, 187 ft". 



B. Apotheosis of Becoming 
§ 8. Heraclitus 

Heraclitus,^ who, on account of his love of paradox, was 
called the Obscure, flourished at Ephesus, near the end of 
the sixth century. He has left a deej)er impress on Greek 
thought than any of the physicists of the first period, and 
more than one modern hypothesis is either foreshadowed 
or expressly formulated in the valuable fragments of his 
book On Nature (jrepl (f>v(Teco<^). 

Like the physicists of Miletus, Heraclitus considers all 
bodies as transformations of one and the same element. 
But this element is not, as with Anaximenes, the atmos- 
pheric air ; it is a finer, more subtle substance, which he 
sometimes calls fire (ttO^), sometimes warm breath {'^vxv)-> 
and which resembles either what physics formerly colled 
caloric^ or the oxygen of modern chemistry. This original 
matter extends from the boundaries of the earth to the 
limits of the world. Everytliing that exists is derived 
from it, and strives to return to it ; every being is trans- 
formed fire ; and, conversely, every being may be, and, as 
a matter of fact, is, eventually changed into fire.^ Atmos- 

1 Chief sources: Plato, Cratylus, p. 402 A; Plut. 75. et Osir., 45, 
48; Clem, of Alex., Stro7n., V. pp. 599,603; Diog, L., IX.; Sext. 
Emp., Adv. math., VII., 126, 127, 133; Stob?eus; Schleiermacher, 
Herakleitos tier Dunkle von Ephesos, {Complete Works, Part III., vol. 2, 
Berlin, 1838) ; Jac. Bernays, Heraclitea, Bonn, 1848 ; Die HeraklitiscTien 
Briefe, Berlin, 1869 ; [Lassalle, Die Philosophie Herakleitos des Dunkeln 
von Ephesos, 2 vols., Berlin, 1858; Teichmiiller, Studien and Neue Stu- 
dien, quoted above ; E. Pfleiderer, Die Philosophie des Heraklit von 
Ephesus, Berlin, 1886 ; G. T. W. Patrick, Heraclitus on Nature, Balti- 
more, 1889. — Tr.]; Mullach, I., pp. 310 ff. ; Heracliti Ephesii reliquice, 
collected by By water, Oxford, 1877 ; Bitter and Preller, 24 ff. ; [Bur- 
net, pp. 133 ff.].. 

2 The physics of Heraclitus reminds one of the mechanical theory 
of heat taught by modern physics, which, like the sage of Ephesus, 
considers all organic life as a transformation of solar heat. 




pheric air and water are fire in process of extinction or in 
process of renewal ; earth and solids are extinguished fire, 
and will be rekindled afresh at the hour fixed by Fate. Ac- 
cording to an immutable law, the fire of the heavenly regions 
is successively transformed into vapor, water, and earth, only 
to return again, in the opposite direction, to its principle ; 
then it thickens again, re-ascends into the heavens, and so 
on ad infinitum. The universe is, therefore, fire in the 
process of transformation (irvpo^ Tpoirai)^ an ever-living 
fire, which is periodically kindled and extinguished. It is 
neither the work of a god nor of a man. It has had no be- 
ginning, and it will never end. There is an end of the 
world in the sense that all things ultimately return to fire ; 
but the world eternally re-arises from its ashes. Universal 
life is an endless alternation of creation and destruction, — 
a game which Jupiter plays with himself. Rest, stand-still, 
in a word, being, is an illusion of the senses. It is not 
possible to descend twice into the same stream ; ^ nay, it is 
not even possible to descend into it once ; we are and we 
are not in it ; we make up our minds to plunge into the 
weaves, and, behold ! they are already far away from us. In 
the eternal whirl, the nothing constantly changes into be- 
ing, and being is incessantly swallowed up in nothingness. 
Since non-being produces being, and vice versa ; being and 
non-being, life and death, origin and decay, are the same. 
If they were not, they could not be transformed into each 

The perpetual flow of things is not, as the expression 
might lead one to think, an easy process, like the gliding 
of a brook over a bed of polished stones. Becoming is a 
struggle between contrary forces, between opposing cur- 
rents, one of which comes from above and strives to trans- 
form the celestial fire into solid matter ; while the other 

1 Plato, Cratylus, p. 402 A : iravra x^P^^ ovbev fxtpn k. t. X. 



re-ascends into the heavens, and strives to change earth 
into fire. It is this continuous battle between two con- 
trary currents that produces all vegetable, animal, and 
intellectual life on the surface of the earth. Everything 
arises from 'the strife of opposites.^ Organic life is pro- 
duced by the male and the female ; musical harmony, by 
sharp and flat notes ; it is sickness that makes us appre- 
ciate health; without exertion, there can be no sweet 
repose ; without danger, no courage ; without evil to over- 
come, no virtue. Just as fire lives the death of air, air, 
the death of fire, water, the death of air, earth, the death 
of water ; so, too, the animal lives the death of the vege- 
table, man, the death of the animal, the gods, the death 
of man, virtue, the death of vice, and vice, the death of 
virtue. Hence, good is a destroyed evil, evil, a vanished 
good; and since evil does not exist without the good, nor 
the good without the evil, evil is a relative good, and good 
a relative evil. Like being and non-being, good and evil 
disappear in the universal harmony. 

The emphasis which Heraclitus lays on the perpetual 
fliux and the absolute instability of things, on the vanity of 
all individual existence, the impossibility of good without 
evil, of pleasure without pain, of life without death, makes 
him the typical pessimist of antiquity, as opposed to the 
optimist, Democritus.2 His negation of being likewise 
implies scepticism.^ Inasmuch as truth is the same to-day, 
to-morrow, and forever, there can be no certain and final 
knowledge if everything perceived by the senses constantly 
changes. The senses, however, are not our only means of 

1 Hippolytns, Ref. Jicer. IX., 9 : noXeiios (Darwin would translate it 
struggle for life) ndvToop narrjp icrri kol ^aaiXfvs. 

2 See § 12. 

* The school of Heraclitus, and particularly Cratylus, the best 
known of his disciples and one of the teachers of Plato, taught 



knowledge; in addition to them we have reason (voik^ 
Xoyo?). The senses show us what passes away, and knowl- 
edge that is based on sensation alone is deceptive ; reason 
reveals to ns what is stable : the divine law (^eto? v6/jlo<;), 
the only fixed point in the eternal flow of things. But 
the most enlightened human reason is still as far removed 
from divine reason as tlie ape is removed from human per- 
fection.i By distinguishing between the sensible phenome- 
non and the noumenon, as Heraclitus did, Ionian philosophy 
emerges from the state of innocence, as it were ; it begins 
to suspect its methods, to distrust itself, to ask itself 
whether the ontological prol)lem can really be solved at 
all ; in a word, it foreshadows the critical question. 

Anthropology cuts loose from general speculation and 
begins to form a prominent part in the system of Hera- 
clitus. The soul is an emanation of the celestial fire, 
and can live only by remaining in contact with this source 
of life. It is constantly renewed by means of respiration 
and sensation. Generation is the transformation of the 
liquid seed into dry breath. Hence the latent fire of the 
earth passes through the liquid state and returns to its 
orimnal condition in the human soul. The driest breath 
constitutes the wisest soul, but woe to tlie drunkard who 
prematurely causes his soul to pass back into the liquid 
state ! In death the breath of life or the soul gradually 
returns to earth. An individual's energy will depend upon 
his more or less constant communion with the celestial fire, 
the supremely intelligent and wise soul of the world. 

Here we have the first feeble beginnings of physiological 
psychology, and they are naively materialistic. The phil- 
osophy of this period speaks of mind as popular chemistry 
speaks of spirits and essences ; but tliough materialistic, 
it is so little aware of tlie fact that it does not even 
possess a technical term for matter. We are not con- 

1 See the Greater Ilippias, p. 289 A. 



scious of ourselves except in opposition to what we are 
not. Hylozoism does not become materialism until it is 
opposed by the spiritualism of the Pythagoreaus-^ 

To sum up : All things jJi'oceed from a dry and warm 
principle and eventually return to it ; everything is in a 
state of perpetual change, and there is nothing immutable 
in the eternal process but the Law which governs it and 
which neither gods nor men can modify. 

C. Explanation of BECOisnNG 
§ 9. The Pythagorean Speculation 

Do the metaphysical doctrines of Pytliagoreanism go 
back, in part at least, to Pythagoras himself? Are tliey 
the teachings of the members of the Pythagorean order, of 
men like Philolaus, who was exiled from Italy in the first 
half of the fifth century, and Archytas, who flourished at 
Tarentum during the second half of that century ? The 
mystery in which the order was enshrouded from the 
very beginning makes it altogether impossible to answer 
this question. Aristotle himself seems to be in doubt in 
the matter ; he never speaks of the teachings of Pythagoras, 

1 Hippasus of Crotona (or Metapontum) fuses Herachtean and 
Pythagorean conceptions. See Ritter and Preller, p. 44. 

Stobaius, Eclog., L ; Plato, Timcem ; Aristotle, Met., L, 5 passim; 
Deccelo, II., 13; Diog. L., VIII.; Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras] Jam- 
blichus, Life of Pgthagoras ; MuUach {Pytliagoreum carmen aureum, 
p. 193 ; Ocelli Lucani de universa natura libellus, 388 ; Hieroclis com- 
mentarius in carmen aureum, 416; Pythagoreorum aliorwnque pliilosopho- 
rum fragmenta, 485 ff. [vol. II., pp. 9 ff.]) ; Ritter and Preller, pp . 40 
ff. ; [Ritter, Geschiclite der pythagoreischen Philosophie, Hamburg, 1826]; 
A. Laugel, Pythagore, sa doctrine et son histoire d^api'h la critique alle- 
mande {Revue des Deux-Mondes, 1864) ; C. Schaarschmidt, Die angebliche 
Schriftstellerei des Philolaos, etc., Bonn, 1864; Chaignet, Pythagore et la 
philosophie pythagoricienne, Paris, 1873. [See also Grote's History o 
Greece, vol. II.] 



but only of the Pythagoreans, However that may be, 
one thing is certain : the first impetus towards arithmetical 
speculation known under the name of Pythagorean phil- 
osophy was given by the great mathematician of Samos, 
and even though direct and positive proofs are wanting, 
nothing can hinder us from proclaiming him as the origi- 
nator of the doctrines set forth in this section. 

PvTHAGORAS, like Thales, of Ionian origin, was born at 
Samos during the first half of the sixth century. He was 
at first the pupil of the theologian Pherecydes and perhaps 
also of Anaximander, the physicist. According to a tradi- 
tion which, it must be confessed, has nothing to Avarrant it 
among the ancients, he visited Phoenicia, Egypt, and Baby- 
lon, where he was initiated into the Eastern theological 
speculations, and introduced to the study of geometry, 
which had already attained a high degree of perfection on 
its native soil. Returning to Greece about 520, he realized 
his ideals of religious, social, and philosophical reform at 
Crotona in Magna Graecia, by founding a kind of brother- 
hood, the members of which entertained the same opinions 
concerning morality, politics, and religion.^ 

1 AVhen we compare the doctrines, aims, and organization of this 
brotherhood, as portrayed by the Neo-Platonic historians (especially 
Jamblichus), with Buddhistic monachism, we are almost tempted 
(with Alexander Polyhistor and Clement of Alexandria) to regard 
Pythagoras as the pupil of the Brahmans, nay, to identify him with 
Buddha himself. Indeed, not only do the names (Ili'^tui', ULvOayopus 
= an inspired one, a soothsayer, and Buddha = enlightened) bear such 
close resemblance to each other that even the most fastidious philol- 
ogist can find no objection in translating UvBayopeios by " preacher of 
Buddhism," but the Pythagorean and Buddhistic teachings are very 
much alike. Dualism, pessimism, metempsychosis, celibacy, a common 
life according to rigorous rules, frequent seK- examinations, meditar 
lions, devotions, prohibitions against bloody sacrifices and animal 
nourishment, kindliness towards all men, truthfulness, fidelity, justice, 
— all these elements are common to both. The fact that most ancient 
aulhoi's and above all Aristotle himseH have comparatively little to say 



Nothing certain is known of the end of the philosopher. 
His work prospered. The Pythagoreans were the posses- 
sors of all the sciences known in their time, — geometry, 
astronomy, music, and medicine,^ — and consequently ac- 
quired an overpowering influence among the Doric people, 
who were less advanced than the lonians. They pre- 
ponderated at Crotona, at Tarentum, and in the Sicilian 
republics, until the middle of the fifth century, when the 
victorious democracy partly expelled them. The exiles 
repaired to Thebes or to Athens. Here their influence 
counteracted that of the Sophists, and brought about the 
spiritualistic reaction of Socrates and Plato against the 
materialism and scepticism which had, in the same epoch, 
been imported from Sicily, Thrace, and Ionia. 

Ionian metaphysics springs from physics ; Pythago- 
rean metaphysics is grafted on mathematics, and is conse- 
quently totally different from the former at the very outset. 
What interests the philosophers of Miletus is matter and its 

concerning the person and hfe of Pythagoras, would tend to confirm 
the hypothesis of the identity of Pythagoreanisni and Buddhism. 
However, the existence of Pythagoras, the mathematician, five centu- 
ries before the Christian era, is placed beyond doubt by the testimony 
of Heraclitus, Herodotus, etc. Furthermore, Buddhism in the form 
of Manich?eism (that is to say, monachism) did not begin to spread 
westward before the third century of our era. We may perhaps ex- 
plain everything satisfactorily by distinguishing between the Pytha- 
goreanisni of the Neo-Platonic historians and primitive and genuine 
Pythagoreanism. The biographers of Pythagoras were without exact 
and sufficient data regarding the life and work of the sage of Samos, 
and somewhat unscrupulous, besides, in the choice of their sources. 
They likewise allowed themselves to be misled by certain analogies ; 
the essential features of their imaginary portrait are derived from 
Persian dualism and Hindoo pessimism. 

1 These sciences, which constituted the subject-matter of Pythago- 
rean instruction, were called fxadrifiaTa, — the term from which the word 
mathematics is derived. The original meaning of the word embraces 
the totality of human knowledge. 



perpetual movement; what impresses Pythagoras and the 
Pythagoreans is the immaterial in matter, the order which 
prevails in the world, the unity, proportion, and harmony 
in its contrasts, the mathematical relations underlying all 
things. In geometry, in astronomy, and in music, every- 
thing is ultimately reduced to number. Hence number is 
the principle and innermost essence of the world; and 
things are sensible numbers. Every being represents a 
number, and the final goal of science is to find for each 
being the number for which it stands. The infinite series 
of numbers, and consequently of things, is derived from 
unity. As number is the essence of things, unity is the 
essence of number. Pythagoreanism distinguishes two 
kinds of unities : (1) the Unity from which the series of 
numbers (beings) is derived, and which therefore contains 
and comprehends them all; the absolute and unopposed 
unity, the Monad of monads (?; yuoz^a?), the God of gods ; 
and (2) the One, the first in the series of derived numbers, 
which is opposed to the numbers two^ three^ and every plu- 
rality (irXrido^)^ and consequently limited by the two, the 
three, and the plurality; it is a relative unity, a created 
monad (to eV). The opposition between the one and the 
many is the source of all the rest. All the contrasts of 
nature, the dry and the moist, the warm and the cold, the 
clear and the obscure, the male and the female, the good 
and the evil, the finite {ireirepaa-yLevov) and the infinite 
{aTTeLpov\ are but varieties of the eV and the 17X1)60^^ or 
of the odd (irepiTTov) and the even {apriov). Plurality 
as such is without consistency and may be divided into 
unities; the even number is reducible to the odd unit. 
The absolute unity is neither even nor odd ; or rather, it is 
as yet both even and odd, singular and plural, God and 
the world. It is to Pythagoreanism what the aireipov is in 
the system of Anaximander: the neuter being that is 
superior and anterior to sexual contrasts, the absolute 



indifference which precedes and creates the dualism of 
forces and elements. But the Pythagoreans guard against 
calling it aireipov^ since the aTretpov is, according to them, 
opposed to the irepaivov^ as passivity to activity, or matter 
to the workman, or form, or plastic principle. Inasmuch as 
everything is, according to them, reduced to number, nu- 
merical relations, and ultimately to Idea, the matter and 
motion of the lonians are, in their opinion, merely negative, 
the absence of ideal unity. Concerning the question of 
movement and origin, the conclusions of the Pythagoreans 
do not differ from the Eleatic doctrines. Movement and 
origin seem to be incompatible with their idealism. Al- 
though tliey have their own cosmogony, like the other 
schools of the period, they do not assume that the universe 
had a beginning in time, and consequently that there was 
a time when the universe did not exist. The world has 
existed e| aloivo^ koI ek atwm, and the cosmogony simply 
aims to explain the order, law, or series, according to which 
things eternally emanate from their principle. 

Pythagorean physics therefore accommodates itself to 
human sensualism^ just like the physics of Parmenides. It 
makes what is in itself immutable, variable. It places itself 
on the sensualistic standpoint held by the novices among its 
foUoAvers {aKova-fjLarifcoL), and represents the eternal unity 
as a sphere (97 rod Travm a(j)aLpa), as a compact sphere, in 
which the parts are not distinguished (ttXtJ/oc?, o-fz/e^e?), 
and which floats in the infinite {aireipov). The ideal opposi- 
tion between the even and the odd, the one and the many, 
becomes the real opposition of the full and the void. At 
the origin of things, the full was without the void, or, at 
least, the void was external to it. The formation of the 
cosmos begins by the void breaking in upon the full. 
This process is like a perpetual breath which agitates the 
world {irvoTj^ irvevpLo). The void penetrates the (K^alpa 
and establishes itself in it, thereby breaking it up into an 



infinite number of infinitesimal particles, reduced images of 
the a(f)a2pa (the drofjua of the atomists). Since, from the 
geometrical point of view, quality is reduced to quantity 
and form, these particles differ only in quantity and in 
figure. They form either cubes or pyramids (tetrahedrons) 
or octahedrons or icosahedrons or dodecahedrons. The 
unity reacts against this endless separation, and the parti- 
cles are joined together again according to their geometric 
affinities and form elementary bodies: earth, fire, air, water, 
and ether. Fire is the element par excellence^ being formed 
of tetrahedric particles. It is the symbol of the divine 
principle in nature and is concentrated into a central sun, 
the hearth of the universe and the abode of the Supreme 
God (iaria tov Trai^ro?), around which revolve (1) the Oura- 
nos, embracing the counter-earth (avrixOcov) and the earth ; 
(2) the Cosmos proper, consisting of the moon, the sun (?) 
and the planets ; (3) the Olympus with the fixed stars. 
Pythagoras substitutes for the earth a central fire (which 
is invisible because the earth keeps facing it with the part 
that is opposite to the one we inhabit), and makes the earth 
revolve around this centre. But this does not mean, of 
course, that he advanced the heliocentric theory ; he merely 
foreshadowed the system which his school formulated 
during the following centuries without succeeding in hav- 
ing it accepted by the majority of scientists. The distances 
separating the spheres are proportional to the numbers 
which express the relations that exist between tones and 
the respective lengths of vibrating strings ; and the result 
of their revolutions around the axis of the world is a divine 
harmony which the musical genius alone can perceive. 
This harmony is the soul of the universe. The different 
beings form an ascending scale according to the degree of 
peifection with which they reflect the universal harmony. 
The motion of the elementary being, the physical point, 
produces the line ; the line moves and produces the plane j 



the plane produces the body, from which sensation, percep- 
tion, and intelligence gradually arise (emanation). 

The individual is mortal in so far as he springs from the 
temporary union of corporeal elements, according to a ratio 
that varies within certain limits. When these limits are 
passed, proportion becomes disproportion, an unequal strug- 
gle, disease, decay, and death. But the ideal contents of 
the broken vase are secure against destruction. The soul 
is a fixed number in the eternal scale of things, a portion 
of the world-soul, a spark of the celestial fire, a thought of 
God. In this respect it is immortal; at death it enters 
upon a state that is superior or inferior to our present life 
or like it, according as the soul has lived for God, for the 
world, or for itself (metempsychosis and palingenesis). 

Although the Pythagoreans, like Parmenides and Hera- 
clitus, accentuate one of the constitutive elements of reality 
and eventually negate concrete existence in order to exalt 
the Idea, they none the less introduce into Greek thought 
one of the most important factors in the solution of the 
Eleatic-Heraclitean problem : What is becoming or the 
process of perpetual change affirmed by the philosopher 
of Ephesus, and how can it be reconciled with the con- 
ception of the permanence and immutability of matter, 
which is advanced, no less authoritatively, by the school of 
Elea ? We mean their theory of monads : the infinitesimal 
particles or physical points of which matter is made up. 
The subsequent systems all attempt to reconcile Elea and 
Ephesus by means of the physico-arithmetical theory of 
elementary units. Thought discovers in the atomistic 
hypothesis the middle term that unites Parmenides, who 
denies the great empirical fact of generation and change, 
and Heraclitus, who sacrifices being and its permanence to 
becoming, — thereby combining the two rival systems into 
a higher synthesis, — and lays the foundation for every 
rational explanation of the process of becoming. Hence- 



forth philosophy no longer regards matter as a continuous 
mass, the essential properties of which are incessantly 
transformed. It breaks them up into parts that are in 
themselves immutable, but which continually change their 
relative positions. As a consequence, there can be both 
perpetual change in the aspects of matter (bodies) and per- 
manence in the essence and properties of matter. All 
change is reduced to change of place : mechanism, 

Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus, who hold this 
theory, differ from each other as Heraclitus, Pythagoras, 
and Anaximander differ among themselves ; that is to say, 
the first makes motion, the second, the Idea (z^oO?), the 
third, matter, the keystone of his system. 

§ 10. Empedocles 

Empedocles,! of Agrigentum, in Sicily (450), who in 
consequence of his knowledge of medicine, the cures which 
he effected, and the mystery with which he loved to sur- 
round himself, was regarded as a magician and a god, is the 
author of a grand philosophical poem, the fragments of 
which seem to place him in an intermediate position 
between the Eleatics and the lonians. 

He sides with the Eleatics in his denial of becoming, as 
Heraclitus understands it ; and approaches the lonians in 
assuming the reality of motion. Matter is immutable in 
its essence, but bodies are in a state of constant change ; 
their constituent elements are combined and separated in 
different proportions. We cannot conceive how fire as 
such can become air, air, water, and so on ; but it is con- 

1 Sext. Emp., Adv. math., VIL, 123; Simplicius, In Pliys., f. 24, 
f. 76; Plutarch, De plac. phiL; Aristotle (Met., Phys., and Psychology), 
etc.; Fragments of Empedocles, collected by A. Peyron (Leipsic, 1810), 
S. Karsten (Reliquue phil. vet. gr., vol. IT., Anist., 1838), Th. fBergk 
(Leipsic, 1813), 11. Stein (Bonn, 1852), Mullach (L, pp. 1 ff.), Ritter 
and Preller (pp. 125 ff.) ; [Burnet, pp. 218 ff.]. 



ceivable that the thousand different combinations of these 
elements should produce an infinite variety of bodies. 
Hence we must abandon the notion of elementary unity ; 
we must cease deriving air from ether, water from air, 
earth from water, and consider these four elements as 
equally original. 

Have the four elements (o-roix^la^ movement of their own, 
or have they received it from a distinct principle, from a 
higher force? It is hard to separate the thought of the 
philosopher from his poetical phraseology, encumbered as it 
is by images and contradictions. We may, it seems, con- 
clude from his poem that he no longer assumes hylozoism, 
the eternity of motion, and the original vitality of matter in 
the same sense as the Ionian physicists. He appears to 
explain movement by an immaterial principle, or rather, by 
two distinct immaterial principles, one of which unites the 
elements, while the other separates them : Love ((^tXia, 
(^tXoTT;?, aropyri) or the principle of union, and Discord 
(vetKo^;, e/3i9, e^Oo^)^ the principle of separation.^ These two 
motive causes, which the imagination of the poet interprets 
as opposing divinities, alternatel}^ rule the elements. Love 
first unites them and forms them into a single spherical 
body (cr(/)afcj009) . Discord ensues and divides them; as a 
result, the earth, the ocean, the atmosphere, the heavenly 
ether, and the stars arise. This period of primitive crea- 
tion, which is the work of Discord, is followed by an epoch 
of struggle between Discord and Love, during which 
plants, animals, and men originate. Discord has, in sepa- 
rating the elements, prepared for each class of beings the 
habitation adapted to them, but it could not form the organ- 
isms themselves, which are a mixture of the four elements 
and consequently the work of the unifying principle, the 
product of Love reacting against the exclusive sway of An- 

^ IsTowadays we should use the terms attraction and repulsion. The 
cosmogony of Empedocles contains the germ of Kant's. 



tipathy. Although the two principles are now at war with 
each other, Love will ultimately gain the victory, and the 
four spheres of the world, which are at present separated, 
will, on the last day, be combined into a new chaos. This 
alternation between periods of separation and periods of 
union is a fatal necessity, and will go on forever. 

Like Anaximander and Heraclitus before him, Empe- 
docles explains the origin of beings by the process of 
evolution, but he explains it in his own way. Their 
organs, he believes, first arose as shapeless and discon- 
nected rudiments, then disappeared and reappeared, sepa- 
rated and reunited, until, at last, they were adapted to 
each other and joined together for good. The first forma- 
tion of these beings was the result of chance ; but their 
preservation, proficiency, and development were due to the 
fitness which they ultimately attained.^ Our philosopher 
also regards individual existence as a doubtful good. He 
is, therefore, the precursor of Schopenhauer as well as of 
Darwin. With Heraclitus and Hippasus, he identifies the 
soul with the fiery principle. Discord detached it from 
the <r</)ai/309, in which it originally existed, mixed w4th 
all the other beings. Like the rest, it will eventually 
return thither. Life is the expiation of the soul's desire 
for a separate existence. Passing through the stages of 
plant, animal, and man, it rises by degrees, and, by absti- 
nences, fasts, and continent living, finally again becomes 
worthy of returning to God. The propagation of the hu- 
man species is an evil, since it perpetuates the actual state 
of things and retards their return to the original unity 

1 Mullach, pp. 315, 316. 

2 The same views are held by Anaximander, who regards death as 
an expiation ; by Plato, who despises the world of sense, and eagerly 
desires the return to the realm of pure ideas ; by Plotinus of Lyco- 
polis, who is ashamed of his body and the manner in which he entered 
into the world. The religious conceptions of the fall, of original sin 
and expiation are familiar to Aryan Europe as well as to Asia. 



Man is the image of the a(f>aLpo<;. The four radical elements 
are represented in him : the earthly element, by the solid 
parts of the body ; water, by its liquid parts ; air, by the 
vital breath ; fire, by the spirit. He is likewise affected by 
Love and Hate. His intellectual superiority follows from 
the fact that all the cosmical elements are concentrated in 
him. He perceives everything, because he is everything ; 
he perceives solids because he is earth ; liquids, because he 
is water ; and so on. We have here a theory, or let us rather 
say, the beginnings of a theory of sensation that might be 
called homoeopathic as distinguished from the allopathism 
of Anaxagoras. The latter derives sensation from the 
coming-together of contraries ; according to Empedocles, 
sensation results from the contact of similars. The blood, 
in wliich the four elements are most closely mingled, is the 
seat of sensation and of the soul. This is proved by the 
fact that when we withdraw all the blood from the body 
we deprive it of sensation, consciousness, life, — in a word, 
of soul. The health of a man depends on the composition 
of liis blood. We are healthy and good when our blood is 
normally composed (/xeVr; KpdaL<;), The blood is sacred, 
and ought not to serve as noui'isliment. In these doctrines, 
which remind us of Egypt, Moses, Buddha, and Zoroaster, 
we see the dawn, as it were, of modern physiology. 

In his theology, Empedocles conceals his naturalism 
under the traditional forms of mythology. He deifies — 
in name only, not actuall}^ like popular belief — the 
four elements, which he calls Zeus, Hera, Orcus, and 
Nestis, and the two motive principles, Love and Discord. 
But we find in Empedocles, alongside of his theological 
atomism and naturalized polytheism, Eleatic monism and 
the tendency to reduce elements and principles to a higher 
unity, which is the only true God. Love is the principle 
of principles ; the four elements are merely its agents, and 
Discord itself its indispensable accomplice : it is the inef- 



fable, invisible, incorporeal God, flashing through the whole 
world with rapid thoughts.^ 

The leading thought in the teaching of Empedocles, 
freed from its theological shell, meets us again in the sys- 
tem of the Ionian Anaxagoras. Anaxagoras is the founder 
of corpuscular physics, and, by his hypotliesis of the order- 
ing vo£)9, anticipates the teleology of Plato and Aristotle. 

§ 11. Anaxagoras 

Anaxagohas 2 was born at Clazomense in Ionia, of an 
illustrious family. He seems to have emigrated to Athens 
about 460, and to have been, for thirty years, the central 
figure in this new intellectual centre of Greece. His 
friendship for Pericles, Euripides, and Protagoras, and his 
profound contempt for the official religion made it neces- 
sary for him to retire to LamjDsacus towards the close of 
his life. Here he died about 429 B. c. Like the majority 
of the great physicists of antiquity, he left a book ire pi 
(f>v(T€(o(;, a few fragments of which are still extant. 

Anaxagoras opposes Heraclitus in two essential points : 

1. He opposes his dynamism with a mechanical cos- 

2. He substitutes dualism for hylozoistic monism, as- 
suming the existence of an unintelligent, inert substance 
and of an intelligent principle, the cause of motion. 

1 Mullach, p. 12, V. 305 : — 

^pfjv Upr) Koi dOeaipaTos eVXero povvov 
^povnori Koapov anavra KaTalaaovaa dofjaLV. 

2 Aristotle, Met., I., 3 ; passim ; Simplicius, In Phys., f . 33, 34, 35, 
38 ; Diog. Laertius ; Fragments collected by Schaubach (Leipsic, 1827), 
Schorn (Bonn, 1820), Mullach (I., pp. 243 ff.), Ritter and Preller (pp. 
112 ff.) ; [Burnet (pp. 282 ff.) ; Breier, Die Philosophie des Anaxagoras, 
Berlin, 1840] ; Zevort, Dissertation sur la vie et la doctrine d'' Anaxagore, 
Paris, 1848. 



1. The Materials of the Cosmogony. — Mattel 
cannot be reduced to a single element, to a homogeneous 
substance, like water, air, or fire, that may be transformed 
into other substances. It is inconceivable how a substance 
can become another substance. Hence there are several 
primitive elements, and not only four, as Empedocles 
teaches ; nay, there is an infinite number of them. These 
germs of things (cnrepfjiaTa) are infinite in number and 
infinitely small (^p-qiiara aireipa fcal ttXt/^o? Kal <TfiL/cp6- 
T)]ra), uncreated, indestructible, and absolutely unchange- 
able in essence. The quantity of these first principles is 
always the same; nothing can be destroyed or added 
(ircivTa tcra aeL . . . ael Trdvra ovSev eXdaaco iarlv ov8e 
TrXeico) ; they change neither in quality nor in quantity. 
Nothing comes into being or passes away. Our usual 
notions of birth (coming-into-being) and death (passing- 
away) are absolutely wrong. Nothing is produced ex 
nihilo, and nothing is lost ; things are formed by the com- 
bination of pre-existing germs, and disappear by the disin- 
tegration of these germs, which still continue to exist. 
Hence it would be better to call comiiig in to heiug, mixhcre, 
and passing moay or deaths sejKtration.^ There is no other 
change except change of place and grouping, external meta- 
morphosis, movement; the notion of change of essence or 
transubstantiation is a contradiction. 

2. Efficient and Final Causes of the Cos- 
mogony. — Anaxagoras no longer regards the motion 
which produces and destroys things as an original and 
eternal reality, inherent in the very nature of the ele- 
ments. The latter are inert and incapable of moving by 
themselves. Hence they cannot account for the move- 

* SimpHcius, In PJujs., 34 : To Se ylueadni kol dnoWvo-Bai ovk opdois 
vofj.L^ov(Tiv ot "EXXr^i/ey • ov8ev yap XRW*^ ov(^e jLueraL ov8e aTroWvTai aXX' 
dno iovTUiV xpi^pciTaiv avpp.Lay€Tal re Koi hiaKplverai.. Kcii ovtccs av 6p6cog 
KoXoiev TO re yiveadcu crvpp'iayecrBaL, koi to diroWvaOaL BLaKplveadai. 




ment in the world and the order which rules it. In order 
to explain the cosmos, we must assume, in addition to the 
material, inert, and unintelligent elements, an element 
that possesses a force and intelligence of its own (z^oO?). 
This element of elements is absolutely simple and homo- 
geneous ; it is not mixed with the otlier elements, hut is 
absolutely distinct from them. The latter are wholly 
passive ; the voik, however, is endowed with spontaneous 
activity; it is perfectly free (avTOKparijf;)^ and the source 
of all movement and life in the world. The inferior ele- 
ments have no consciousness of their own ; the mind 
knows all things past, present, and future ; it has arranged 
and organized everything with design and according to 
its teleological fitness ; it is the eternal governor of the 
universe, more powerful than all the other elements put 

3. Cosmogony. — In the beginning, the inert and 
unintelligent elements were all jumbled together (ofiov 
TrdvTo). In this original chaos (filyfia), everything was 
in everything : gold, silver, air, ether, all things which are 
now separated, formed an indeterminate and inert mass. 
The intelligent substance alone lived a distinct life of its 
own. Then it entered the chaos and disentangled it, mak- 
ing the cosmos out of it (elra vov^ eXOcov iravra BteKo- 
(T/jLtjae). The germs, being set in motion by the Nous, were 
separated and mingled together again according to their 
inner affinities. From the point where movement is im- 
parted to the chaos, the whirling motion (hlvo^;) gradually 
extends over a wider and wider space to all parts of the 
world ; it continues, as is proved by the rotation of the 
heavens, and will continue without interruption until 
the fily/jLa is completely separated. Our earth is a cylin- 
drical body and is composed of the heaviest germs, which 
were carried towards the centre of the world by the orig- 
inal motion. The lighter corpuscles, which form water, 



were deposited upon this solid mixss ; higher up, the atmo- 
sphere is formed by the germs of air ; at Last, in the 
heavenly regions, the most subtle elements, the fiery 
ether, are mixed together again. A second separation of 
elements takes place, and tlie original motion parts off from 
the earth the different solid, mineral, and other bodies 
which compose it ; from the water it parts off the differ- 
ent liquids, and so on, until our central world receives 
the shape which it now has. The stars are solid masses, 
which w^ere torn from the earth by the rotatory motion 
originally possessed by it in common with the rest of tlie 
universe, and which w^ere ignited by coming in contact 
with the celestial ether. The sun is a fiery mass, fMvSpo<; 
8id7rvpo<;. The moon has mountains and valleys in it, and 
borrow^s its light from the sun. 

The views which we have just expounded forecast the 
cosmogonic theories of Buff on, Kant, and Laplace. Anaxa- 
goras also anticipates comparative physiology by advancing 
the principle of the continuity of beings, by pointing out 
the unit}^ of purpose in the diverse vegetable and animal 
types. In spite of all that has been said, however, he is so 
far from being a spiritualist in the Cartesian sense of the 
term, that he conceives animals, and even plants, as sharing 
in the vov<;. If man is more intelligent than animals, it 
is, he believes, because his mind employs more develoj)ed 
organs. All living things, without exception, are endowed 
with mind. 

How do living beings partake of mind ? Does the intel- 
ligent principle of Anaxagoras exist outside of these 
bemgs, or is it but the sum of all the intelligences, all 
the purposes, and all the motive forces, whence inove- 
ment in general results? On the one hand, it is certain 
that, inasmuch as the vov^ knows all things past, present, 
and future, and knows them before the organization of 
matter, it in no wise resembles either the Substance of 



Spinoza or the active Idea of TIegel; for the Substance 
of Spinoza and the Idea of Hegel know tilings only through 
tlie mediation of the human brain ; that is to say, by means 
of f Tcmoiidy -organized matter. Anaxagoras is so decided 
in his assumption that the vov^ is free and conscious of its 
action, that he regards the word Fate (ei\xap\xevif]) as devoid 
of meaning. Besides, tlie very term which he uses to 
designate the motive principle signifies reason, purpose. 
He seems to make a transcendent being of it, one that 
exists independently of other beings, and acts upon them 
in a purely meclianical way. He even seems to consider 
tliese ])einfi^s, not as intelli«"ent in tlie true sense of the 
word, Init as automata which appear to be intelligent witli- 
out really being so. On the other hand, he speaks of tlie 
presence of the vov<^ in living creatures as though he were a 
pantheist. The long and short of it is, the thinkers of this 
remote age never broached the questions of transcendency 
and immanency, personality and impersonality, conscious 
intelligence and unconscious intelligence. Ileraclitus found 
nothing objectionable in assuming a primitive substance and 
a perpetual state of change. Similarly, we may suppose, 
Anaxagoras maintained both the transcendency and the 
immanency of the i^oO?, without even suspecting that he 
was contradicting himself. 

The same may be said in answer to the question whether 
the vov<^ of Anaxagoras is simply less material than 
other substances, or whether it is an absolutely immaterial 
entity. It is undoubtedly true, on the one hand, that the 
attributes of the i^ou? are altogether like those of the siyirit 
of spiritualism, and that the vov^ seems to have nothing in 
common with matter except existence. Yet, on the other 
hand, there seems to be but a difference of degree between 
the vov^ and material substances : the vov^^ in fact, is the 
finest, the most mobile thing of all {XeirroraTov iravTcov 
')(^pr}fjidro)v) ; it is identical with the ayp 'y^vy^r} of Anax- 


imenes.i Hence, it is merely the highest kind of matter 
and, consequently, not absolutely opposed to it as in spirit- 
ualism proper. The dualistic conception is, as yet, only 
vaguely defined in the system of Anaxagoras, who finds it 
hard to cut loose from the materialism of the physicists. 
Tills is evident from the fact that Archelaus, his disciple, 
considers the vov^ as the finest kind of matter. Moreover, 
Anaxagoras liimself fails to apply the notion of finality 
and his principle that the prime mover is an intelligent 
being. Aristotle justly censures him for using mind as a 
deus ex macliina to account for the movement of matter, 
and tlien wholly abandoning it for physical and mechanical 
causes as soon as it has served liis purpose in explaining 
the origin of the first movement.^ 

Nevertheless, Anaxagoras went far enough in spiritual- 
ism to cause a reaction in Ionian physics, which became 
decidedly materialistic in consequence of this opposition. 

§ 12. Diogenes of Apollonia, Archelaus, Leucippus, 

1. Diogenes of Apollonia ^ rejects both the pluralism 
of elements and the dualism of unintelligent matter and 
immaterial intelligence. He is a disciple of Anaximenes, 
and assumes only one original element, air, which is the 
source of all life in nature, and the essence of all bodies. 
Mind, which Anaxagoras seems to regard as a separate 

1 Thus Aristotle finds fault with Anaxagoras for identifying vovs 
u'itli ylrvxn^ though pretending to distinguish between them {De 
animn, T., 2). 

2 Aristotle, Met, I., 4, 7. Cf., Plato, PhcerJo, 97 B. 

s Simplicius, In PJu/s., 32, 33; Diog. L., IX. ; [Fragments, coll. by 
Schorn, Bonn, 1829] ; Mullach, T., pp. 252 ff. ; [ Ritter and Preller, pp. 
172 ff. ; Burnet, pp. 361 f . ; Schlei'^rniachor, Ueher Diogenes von Apol- 
lonia (Works, part TIL, vol. 2, Berlin, 1838) ; Panzerbieter, De Diog 
A. vita et scriptis, Meiningen, 1823. — Tii.]. 



principle, is wliolly dependent on air. This is proved by 
the fact tliat the spirit leaves the body as soon as the 
breath is taken away. Hence we cannot say that air is the 
product of mind or thought ; nay, the reverse is true, mind 
is the product of air. Without air there can be no life, no 
consciousness, no intelligence ; hence air, that is, matter, 
is the only principle. Intelligence is not a distinct sub- 
stance, but an attribute of air. It is obvious, says Dio- 
genes, that the principle we assume is both great and 
mighty and eternal and undying and of great knowledge 
(^IJ^eya Kal l(7')(vpop kol athiov re fcal aOdvarov fcal iroWa 
elSo^). It is the opinion of this physicist, whose views 
are closely akin to those of Melissus and the Eleatics, that 
dualism is the negation of the fundamental principle of 
science (ef evo<; airavTo). I believe, he goes on to say, that 
all things are differentiations of the same thing, and are 
the same thing ; and this seems obvious to me. How, 
indeed, could the so-called elements, earth, water, air, etc., 
mix with one another, if they were not fundamentally the 
same ? How could they help or harm each other ? How 
could the earth produce plants, and plants animals ? Let 
us therefore confess, with the ancient physicists, that all 
things arise from the same substance, and are destined to 
return to the same thing.^ 

2. Aechelaus.^ — Archelaus of Athens, or, according 
to others, of Miletus, is a disciple of Anaxagoras. He ad- 
heres to his teacher's atomism, but protests against the 
dualistic interpretation of his system. The vov^ is a sepa- 
rate thing like water, gold, and iron. It differs from these 
substances as these substances differ among themselves. 
Gold is not iron, but iron and gold are both matter. So, 
too, mind, though neither gold nor iron, is, nevertheless, 

^ Mullach, p. 254. [Ritter and PreUer, p. 173.] 
2 Diog-. L., II. ; Simpl., In Arist. Phjs., fol. 6 ; [Hitter and Preller, 
pp. 178 ; Mullach, I., pp. 257 ft". ; Burnet, pp. 367 ft'.]. 



material ; it is the finest, the most subtle, the most intan- 
gible substance, without, however, being a simple thing. 
A simple substance is a substance that is composed of 
nothing, and consequently does not exist. Matter and 
substance are, therefore, synonymous terms. 

3. The Atomists. — That is also, on the whole, the 
teaching of Leucippus and his disciple, Democritus of 
Abdera, in Thrace, the most learned of the Ionian physi- 
cists and the head of the ancient and modern materialistic ^ 
school (420 B.C.). His numerous writings have been lost, 
but important fragments remain. Besides, direct sources 
being wanting, we may refer to the exposition of atomistic 
principles in the poem of Lucretius 

The somewhat vague doctrines of Anaximenes, Dio- 
genes, and Anaxagoras, on the nature and organization 
of matter, are clearly formulated by Democritus.^ With 
Anaximenes and Diogenes, he affirms the homogeneity 
of all bodies ; but, with Anaxagoras, he conceives this 
indeterminate matter as divided into an infinite num- 
ber of infinitely small molecules, which come together and 
separate. In that way bodies are formed and destroyed. 
These molecules are infinite in number and indivisible 

1 We say inaterlalistic, and not atomistic. For atomism is as old as 
Anaxagoras and his theory of the XPW^^^ aneipa Koi nX^jdos /cat afxiKpo- 
TijTa, in fact if not in name. 

2 [De natura rerum, ed. by Lachmann (1850), Bernays (1852), 
Munro, with Eng. tr. (1886). See Masson, The Atomic Theory oj 
Lucretius, London, 1884, — Tk.] 

3 Aristotle, Met., I., 4; De coelo, III., 2; De anima, I., 2; Sext. 
Emp., Adv. ?nath., VII., 135; Diog. L., IX.; Lucretius, De rerum 
natura; Clem, of Alex., Stromal eis ; Mullach, I., pp. 330 ff. ; Ritter 
and Preller, pp. 154 ff. ; [Liard, De Democrito philosopho, Paris, 1873; 
Brieger, Die Urhewegung der Atome, Halle, 1884 ; Natorp, Forschungen 
zur Geschichte des Erkenntnissprohlems im Alterthum, Berlin, 1884; 
Liepmann, Die Mechanik der Leucipp-Demokritschen Atome, Leipsic, 
1885: Hart, Zur Seelen- und Erkenntnisslelire des Dewo^rtV, Miilhausen, 
1886 ; Natorp, Die Ethika des Demokritos, Marburg, 1893. — Tr.]. 



(dro/jLa), without, however, being mathematical points, for 
an unextended thing would be nothing. They are identi- 
cal in chemical quality (to jevo^ ev), but differ in size 
(fjL€ye6o(;) and form (a^rj/Ji^a). They are endowed with per- 
petual motion, which they do not receive from a tran- 
scendent principle, but which belongs to their essence. 
The force which moves them acts according to necessity 
(/ca6^ elfiapfievr] utt' avdy/crj^), and not, as Anaxagoras 
seems to think, according to design (vov^) and purpose 
(reXo?). Democritus rejects all teleology, but denies chance 
also, though he sometimes employs the word rvxv in the 
sense of necessity (dvdjfCT]). According to him, the word 
" chance " merely expresses man's ignorance of the real 
causes of phenomena. Nothing in nature happens without 
cause ; all things have their reason and necessity. ^ 

The Eleatics denied the void and consequently motion. 
To assume movement is equivalent to affirming the void 
(to kevov). If there were no void, the atoms could not 
even be distinguished from one another; that is to say, 
they could not exist. Hence the void is the indispensable 
condition of their existence. It is also the condition of 
movement, and therefore as important in the formation of 
things as the full (to 7rX?)/3e9). The void is, as it were, a 
second principle, which is added to the matter of material- 
ism, and gives the system of Democritus the dualistic 
turn which the most consistent monistic philosophies have 
not been able wholly to avoid. The void of Democritus 
meets us under the name of direipov in Pythagoras ; it is 
the iiTf 6v of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus, the oiegativity 
of Campanella and of Hegel. Democritus regards it as the 
condition of motion and of matter; the idealists regard it 
as the condition of the dialectical movement of thought. 
The perpetual motion (atSto? K(vr)(n<^) produces a whirl- 
1 8tol)iTRiis, Ed. pJn/.'i., p. 100; Miillach, p. 365 : Ovbev xpw^ H'^^'T' 



ing movement (Stz^o?) among the atoms, in consequence of 
which they are combined according to their external afhn- 
ities, — that is, according to size and form ; for since they 
are all chemically the same, they neither attract nor repel 
each other. The heaviest atoms naturally move down- 
wards in infinite space, while the lightest form the atmos- 
phere. Some atoms have uneven, rough, sharp, or hooked 
surfaces. These catch hold of each other and form acid or 
bitter substances ; while atoms with smooth surfaces form 
substances wdiich impress the senses agreeably. The soul 
consists of the finest, smoothest, and therefore most nimble 
atoms. When such atoms exist in isolation, or are mixed 
together in small quantities, the soul-atoms are insensible ; 
when they are joined together in large masses, they acquire 
the faculty of sensation. Tliey are scattered over the en- 
tire body, but gathered together more numerously in the 
sense-organs, where sensation is produced : in the brain, the 
seat of thought ; in the heart, the seat of the affections ; and 
in the liver, the seat of desire. Sensation and perception 
are explained as follows : Effluences {airoppoLai) go forth 
from all bodies and enter our organs of sense, where they 
excite sensation, and the brain, where they produce ideas 
or images of things (etScoXa). 

Sensation is the only source of knowledge, and there is 
nothing in thought that has not passed tlu'ough the channel 
of the senses. Our ideas represent our impressions, that 
is, the relations existing between ourselves and the external 
world; they are not direct reproductions of the objects 
themselves, the inner essence of which is concealed from 
us. AYe are self-conscious as long as the soul-atoms remain 
intact in the body; sleep ensues, and with it loss of con- 
sciousness, when a certain number of atoms escape ; when 
nearly all of them escape, and but a few remain, we fall 
into a state of seeming death; and, finally, when all the 
psychical atoms are separated from the body at once, we 



die. Death cannot destroy these atoms, because the atom 
is indivisible and therefore indestructible ; it destroys their 
temporary union in a body, and, consequently, the individ- 
uality formed by such a union. Since feeling does not 
belong to isolated atoms, but is produced only by a combin- 
ation of atoms in the brain and in other organs, death puts 
an end to feeling and destroys the personality. 

The gods are more powerful beings than man, but their 
immortality is not absolute. Since they are composed of 
atoms, like mortals, they eventually succumb to the com- 
mon fate of all, though they live longer than human beings. 
In the eternal universe, no one has any absolute privileges. 
Since the gods are more powerful and wiser than ourselves, 
we should venerate them. We may assume that they come 
into relation with us, — in dreams for example; but we 
should free ourselves from all superstitious fears concern- 
ing them, and not forget that above these beings, however 
powerful they may be, there is one still more powerful than 
they, — Necessity, the supreme, impersonal, and impartial 
law which governs the heavens and the earth. To this law, 
which nature imposes upon all beings alike, we must submit 
with joyous hearts. Our happiness depends upon it.^ 

Atomistic materialism culminates in scepticism in Pro- 
tagoras of Abdera, the philosophy of Heraclitus in Cratylus, 
and the Eleatic doctrine in Gorgias. Tliis period forms a 
fruitful crisis in the history of Greek philosophy. Though 
temporarily discouraged by the examination of her resourciss 
for knowing the truth, philosophy emerged from the dark- 
ness, strengthened and exalted, conscious of her powers, 
and enriched by a series of studies that had, until then, 
never been pursued; I mean the intellectual and moral 

1 See Burchard, Fragmente der Moral des Ahderiten Demokritus, 
Miiiden, 1831. For the points of contact between Democritus and 
modern positivism, see Aristotle, Phjs., YIIL, 1, 27. 



§ 13. Protagoras 

PiiOTAGORAS,^ a fellow-countryman and friend of Denio- 
critus, acquired fame through the eloquent lectures which 
he delivered in Sicily and at Athens. He was no longer a 
(/)iXocro</)09, but a ao(f)taT7]^^ that is, a teacher of philosophy 
who received pay for his lessons. His example was fol- 
lowed by a number of talented men, who undertook to 
acquaint the educated public with the conceptions of the 
philosoj^hers, which had liitherto been restricted to the 
narrow confines of the schools. The laxness of their moral 
principles and their unbelief in polytheism caused these 
clever popularizers of knowledge to be stigmatized as 
Sophists. Their work, however, ranks in importance with 
that of the Humanists and Encyclopedists. Pampered as he 
was by the cultured, wealthy, and sceptical youths of the 
age, but detested by the common people, who remained pas- 

1 The Thecetetus of Plato ; Diog. L., IX. ; Sext. Emp., Hrjpotyp., L, 
217; Ado. math., VIL; [Mullach, vol. IL, Iviii., pp. 130 ff.] ; Kitter 
and Pi'eller, pp. 183 if. ; Vitringa, De Protagorce vita et philosophia, 
Groeningen, 1852 ; [Natorp, Forschungen zur Ge.scJiichte des Erkennt- 
nissprohlems (see above, page 55) ; Harpf, Die Ethik des Protagoras, 
Heidelberg, 1884. For the Sophists in general, see Grote, History oj 
Greece, vol. VIII. ; Hegel ; Hermann, Geschichte und System der plato- 
nisclien Philosnphie, pp. 179 ff., 296 ff. ; J. Geel, Historia critica soj)hisla- 
rum, etc., Utrecht, 1823 ; Valat, Essai historique sur les sopJiistes grecs 
{Investigateur, Paris, 1859) ; Schanz, Beitrdge zur vorsokratischen Philo- 
sopJiie, I. ; Die Sophisfen, Gottingen, 1867 ; Blass, Die attische Beredsam- 
keit von Gorgias his zu Lysias, Leipsic, 1868; H. Sidgwick, The Sophists 
{Journal of Philology, IV., 1872, pp. 288-306; V., 1873, pp. 66-80); 
Siebeck Untersuchungen zur Philosophie der Griechen (I. : Ueber So 
krates' Verhaltniss zur Sophistilt), 2d ed., Freiburg, 1888. — Tr.]. 



sionately attached to the religion of their forefathers, Pro- 
tagoras, like his contemporaries Anaxagoras and Socrates, 
fell a victim to the fanaticism of the masses and the 
hypocrisy of the great. He was banished, and his writings 
burned in the market-place (411). We may assign as the 
immediate cause of his condemnation, the doubts which he 
expressed concerning the existence of the gods in his book 
Trepl deo)v. 

The scepticism of Protagoras represents the conclusion 
of a syllogism of which the iravra pel of Heraclitus forms 
the major, and the sensualism of Democritus, the minor 
premise. The sensible world is a perpetual metamorphosis ; 
tlie senses show only the things that pass away ; they do 
not reveal the immutable, necessary, and universal. Hence, 
if we would know the truth, we must derive it from a 
better source than our deceptive senses ; we must appeal 
to reflection, to reason. But, according to Democritus, 
reflection is simply the continuation of sensation, from 
which it does not essentially differ. Consequently, if sen- 
sation is changeable, uncertain, and illusory, and is at the 
same time the only source of knowledge, it necessarily 
follows that all knowledge is uncertain. No one knows 
anything but his own sensations. Things that are not given 
to us in sensation do not exist for us. Whatever we feel 
exists for us. Since the atoms of Democritus are not 
perceived by the senses, they are merely hypotheses without 
any real value, and the importance which the philosopher 
attaches to them is inconsistent with his doctrine. The 
same may be said of the germs of Anaxagoras, the elements 
of Empedocles, the principles of the school of Miletus ; 
they are all purely hypothetical theories, and cannot be 
demonstrated. There is no truth for man except in what 
he perceives, feels, and experiences. And as sensations 
differ for different individuals, a thing seeming green to 
one and blue to another, large to one and small to another, 



it follows that there are as many truths as individuals; 
that the individual is the measure of the true and the false 
(irdvTCdV ')^pr} /JLCiTCOV fierpov avOpcoiro^^ roiv /xev ovtcov o)? ecrn, 
Toiv S' ovK 6vT(ov ft}9 ov/c ecTTLv ^) ; that there are no univer- 
sally valid truths or principles, or, at least, that we have 
no certain criterion (KptTrjpLov) by which to recognize the 
absolute truth of a metaphysical or moral proposition. The 
individual is the measure of the true and the good. An 
act that benefits one man harms another ; it is good for the 
former, bad for the latter. Practical truth, like theoretical 
truth, is a relative thing, a matter of taste, temperament, 
and education. Metaphysical controversies are therefore 
utterly vain. It is not possible for us to prove anything 
but the particular fact of sensation ; still more impossible 
is it to know the causes or ultimate conditions of reality, 
which escape all sense-perception. 

Let man, therefore, occupy himself with the only really 
accessible object, with Imnself ! Let him abandon his sterile 
speculations concerning ultimate causes, and concentrate 
his attention upon what is, after all, the only problem of 
importance, — the question concerning the conditions of 
happiness. Happiness consists in governing one's self and 
others ; to govern one's self means to be virtuous ; hence 
philosophy is the art of being virtuous. Li order to gov- 
ern others — in a society that is captivated by the beauties 
of language and always ready to sacrifice the matter to the 
form — it behooves one to be eloquent, that is, to think 
correctly and to speak correctly. Hence, philosophy is 
the art of thinking correctly and of speaking correctly. It 
consists of the following three branches : practical ethics, 
dialectics, and rhetoric. 

These doctrines, in which the sicbjcct and the olject are 
for the first time opposed to each other, exaggerate a 

1 Diog. L., IX, 51. 


highly important trutli : the truth that reality is not some- 
thing external to the thinking and feeling subject ; that the 
feeling and thinking subject is a coefficient in the produc- 
tion of the phenomenon ; in a word, that thought — whether 
it be transformed sensation or something else — is one of 
the principles of things, one of those primary conditions of 
reality for which philosophy has been seeking, a principle 
which it divined in the X0709 of Heraclitus, the eV of 
Pythagoreanism, and the z^oO? of Anaxagoras. Thought 
not only strives to reduce things to a unity, it is the unify- 
ing principle itself (to eV), that which unifies and measures 
reality. It is, indeed, ttclvtcov ')(^pr]fjbdTcov /jLerpov, and in so far 
as it is not conscious of itself except in man, Protagoras 
and the Sophists were perfectly right in saying : irdvTwv 
')(p7] fjudrcov fierpov dv6pco7ro<;. This maxim is no less epoch- 
making in the history of ancient philosophy than the jvayOL 
aeavTov of Socrates. It demolishes the past in order to 
make room for new and sounder theories based upon the 
consciousness of self, and inaugurates the age of criticism. 

The criticism of Protagoras and the Sophists yields 
many fruitful results. 

It destroys the mental foundations of polytheism and 
prepares the way for the religion of Socrates, Plato, and 
the Stoics. In the second place, it destroys the naive 
dogmatism of fantastic speculation ; and its dialectical 
extravagances and sophistries compel thought to give an 
account of itself, its mechanism, its methods, and its 
laws. For several centuries, philosophy had used its 
reasoning powers without accounting for the nature and 
the forms of the syllogism; it had made its inferences 
and deductions without investigating the inductive and 
deductive methods. In this respect it resembled the mil- 
lions of creatures who see and hear without having the 
slightest notion of the mechanism of sight and hearing. 
Sophisticism, even though it abuses the laws of thought, 



nay, let us say, precisely because it abuses them, makes the 
mind conscious of its laws and causes it to analyze them, 
and so becomes the forerunner of the science of logic, the 
development of which constitutes the glory of Aristotle. 
Simultaneously with the science of thought, it creates the 
science of its inseparable outer shell, language, — grammar, 
syntax, or philology in the broadest sense of the term. By 
laying so much stress on form, and showing such care in 
the use of words, the Sophists rendered the Greek language 
more flexible, and fashioned it into the wonderful instru- 
ment of thouo'ht which we admire in the dialogues of Plato. 

The error of Protagoras and the subjectivistic Sophists 
consists in their interpreting dvdpcoTro^; to mean, not man 
in general but the individual, not the human understand- 
ing but the understanding of each particular individual, 
and in assuming, in consequence, as many measures of the 
true and the false as there are individuals. Protagoras, 
like the majority of the Greek pliilosophers, exaggerates 
(1) the physiological and mental differences existing be- 
tween individuals ; (2) the illusions of sensation. He 
ignores the fact which science has since demonstrated, 
that the investigator may correct the data of the senses 
by means of each other, and his ignorance of this fact 
leads him to deny the existence of an objective criterion 
of truth. He fails to see that the human reason is 
essentially the same in all individuals. Men hinder him 
from seeing man. 

It is this cardinal error in his philosophy which is recti- 
fied by Socrates. 

§ 14. Socrates 

Socrates of Athens ^ (469-399), once a sculptor like his 
father, was attracted to philosophy by the teachings of the 

1 Sources : Xenophon's Memorabilia and Symposium ; Plato, Apol- 
ogy, Phccdo, PhcedruSy Meno, Thecetetus:, etc. ; Aristotle, Met, I., 6 and 



Sophists, and, like them, devoted his life to the instruction 
and education of the youth. The brilliancy and spiritual- 
ity of his conversation, which was Attic to a fault, the 
grandeur of his ideas, the boldness of his political para- 
doxes, everything about the man, except his outward form, 
was calculated to charm and attract. The martyrdom 
which he suffered only helped to raise the admiration of 
his many disciples to the highest pitch. Though an adver- 
sary of the Sophists, whose venality he condemned, he 
resembled them so much that he was mistaken for a 
Sophist. Like them, he expressed a contempt for meta- 
physics, natural science, which, he said, culminates in 
atheism, and mathematics, which, to his mind, consists of 
nothing but barren speculations. Like them and like the 
true Athenian that he was, he placed the study of the moral 
man and of the duties of the citizen in the very centre of 
education ; like them, finally, he rated the formal culture 
of the mind much more highly than material instruction, 
without calculating the effect of intellectual freedom on 
the religion and the constitution of the State. Hence, he 
was, not without some show of reason, identified with the 
Sophists, and the hatred of the conservative democracy 
in its turn destroyed him. Aristophanes opened the battle 
against the reformer. He ridiculed him in the Clouds and 

passim; Cicero, Acad., I., 4, 15, and passim ; Ritter and Preller, 192 ff. ; 
Freret, Observations sur les causes de la condamnation de Socrate (an 
essay read in the year 1736, printed in the Memoires de I'Academie 
des inscriptions, vol. 47 B, pp. 209 ft'.) ; [Grote, History of Greece, vol. 
VIII., chap. 68 ; Kochly, Sokrates und sein Volk (^A kademische Vortrdge 
und Reden, I.), Zurich, 1859 ; Alberti, Sokrates, ein Versuch iiher ihn 
nach den Quellen, Gottingen, 1869] ; Chaignet, Vie de Socrate, Paris, 
1868; [Antonio Labriola, Xa dottrina di Socrate, Naples, 1871; Sie- 
beck, Ueher Sokrates' Verhdltniss zur Sophist ik {Untersuchungeyi zur 
Philosophie der Griechen, 1873; 2d ed., Freiburg i. B., 1888)]; Fouillee, 
La philosophie de Socrate, 2 vols., Paris, 1874. [Wildauer, Sokrates' 
Lehre vom Willen, Innsbruck, 1877. — Tk.] 



at the same time aroused suspicion against his religious 
and political views. After the fall of the Thirty Tyrants, 
Socrates was accused of not believing in the gods of the 
State, of proclaiming other gods, and of corrupting the 
youth," and condemned to drink the hemlock (399). 

Although Socrates left no writings, we have a better 
knowledge of him than of his predecessors. For this we are 
indebted to two of his enthusiastic pupils, Xenophon and 
Plato. Their accounts do not, by any means, agree with 
one another in all respects. The Socrates of the Memor- 
abilia is a moral philosopher and an apostle of natural 
religion rather than a meta2:)hysician ; the Socrates of the 
Dialogues of Plato is a keen and profound thinker, the rival 
of Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Anaxagoras. The simplest 
explanation of the difference is as follows : Xenophon pre- 
sents the teachings of the master according to his under- 
standing of them ; wliile Plato, whose philosophical horizon 
is broader than that of Socrates, exaggerates the metaphy- 
sical import of his doctrine and uses Socrates as a mask 
for his own ideas. Happily Ave have, besides the very 
detailed but sometimes uncertain data of the two disciples, 
the opinion of Aristotle to guide us, and he cannot, to say 
the least, be accused of partiality.^ 

The scepticism of Protagoras and the Sophists forms 
the starting-point of the philosophy of Socrates. All he 
knows is that he knows nothing ; he is, furthermore, con- 
vinced that certainty is impossible in the case of physical 
science. However, though he is a sceptic in cosmology, 
his scepticism does not extend to the field of morals. He 
believes — and this conviction of his forms a new and pos- 
itive element in the philosophy of his times — he believes 
that there is something in the universe that can be known, 

1 Met., L, 6 ; XIIL, 4. Top. L, 2. Eih. Nic, passim. [Cf. Klett, 
Soh'ates nach den Xenopliontisclien Memorahilien, Canstatt 1893. — ■ 
Joel, Der echte und der Xenophonlische Sokrates, Berlin, 1893. — Tr.]. 



and known absolutely ; this, as the words inscribed on the 
temple of Delphi : Know thyself^ indicate, is man. We 
can never know exactly what is the nature of the world, 
its origin, and its end, but we can know what we ourselves 
ought to be, Avhat Ls the meaning and aim of life, the high- 
est good of the soul ; and this knowledge alone is real and 
useful, because it is the only possible knowledge. Outside 
of ethics there can be no serious philosophy. 

By making man the real object of science, Socrates evi- 
dently did not intend to create a scientific anthropolog}^, 
or even to give us a psychology in the strict sense of the 
word. Man means for him the soul as the seat of moral 
ideas. He accepts no other science than ethics, of which 
Aristotle calls him the founder ; but ethics is, in his opin- 
ion, a real, certain, and positive science resting on universal 
principles. Seemingly, indeed, Socrates does not get beyond 
the standpoint of Protagoras and his principle that man is 
the measure of all things. But the moral system of the 
great Sophist Avas not scientific, because it failed to recog- 
nize universal principles. By man as the measure of all 
things, Protagoras means the individual, and not human 
nature in general ; he means the particular, accidental, 
changeable individual, and not the immutable and neces- 
sary moral element which is common to all. He did not 
believe in the existence of such a fundamental human 
nature. Moral ideas do not, in his opinion, possess objec- 
tive and absolute value ; goodness, justice, and truth 
depend upon individual taste, which is the sole and final 
judge. There are, therefore, as many systems of ethics as 
individuals, which amounts to saying that there is none. 
The Sophists were deceived by the diversity of opinions, 
judgments, and feelings which they discovered among men. 
This diversity is but apparent and on the surface. The 
moral ideas lie concealed and slumbering, as it were, be- 
neath individual prejudices. We have only to remove this 



superficial layer by means of education, in order to dis- 
cover in all the same ideas and the same aspirations towards 
goodness, beauty, justice, and truth. 

Socrates' merit, therefore, consists in having attempted, 
at least in morals, to separate the general from the particu- 
lar ; in having advanced from the individual to the univer- 
sal ; in having again discovered, beneath the infinite variety 
of men, the one unchangeable man. Beneath the confused 
mass of opinions held by a demoralized century, he finds 
the true and immutable ojnnion, the conscience of the 
human race, the law of minds.^ Hence Socrates not only 
rendered a service to ethics, he benefited metaphysics as 
well. In the midst of intellectual anarchy, he teaches 
thought how to infer and define, and helps to put an end 
to the confusion of ideas by giving words their exact 
meaning.2 Thus, as long as there is no exact definition of 
the notion of God, a man has as much right to espouse 
atheism as theism : theism, if by God is meant the one 
indivisible Providence that governs the world ; atlieism, 
if we mean those anthropomorphic beings with whom the 
Greek imagination peopled the Olympus. The main thing, 
therefore, is to come to some agreement as to the terms ; 
and to this end we must define them exactly, — an art in 
which Socrates excelled. He was, says Xenophon,^ untir- 
ing in liis efforts to examine and define goodness and wick- 
edness, justice and injustice, wisdom and folly, courage 
and cowardice, the State and the citizen. He did not offer 
his definitions to his hearers ready-made. He differed from 
the sensualist Protagoras in his conviction that moral 
ideas are fundamental to humanity, that every human mind 
is hig with truth, that education creates nothing that is not 
already there, but merely awakens and develops the latent 

1 The Koivbs Xoyo? of Heraclitiis. 

2 Aristotle, Met., I., 6; XIIL, 4, 8-9, 35; Top., I., 12. 
8 Mem., L, 1, 16. 



germs of knowledge. He contented himself with being a 
spiritual midwife^ and his chief delight lay in teaching his 
hearers how to discover the true definitions for themselves. 
A better teacher never lived. He practised his art, which 
he loved to compare with that of his mother,^ in the public 
places, on the walks, and in the work-shops ; wherever he 
found an intelligent face before him. He was in the habit of 
plying those whom chance made his pupils with questions, 
— questions that were often trifling in their nature. He 
began by chiming in with their views. Then, by means of 
the most skilful questioning, he gradually forced them to 
confess that they knew little or nothing, and, finally, 
brought them to see the truth. The dialogues of Plato 
give us an insight into the famous dialectical method, which 
enabled Socrates to confound the learned pretensions of his 
interlocutors, and which has been called the Socratic irony. 

Though Socrates sought to enlighten men, to teach 
them how to think correctly and to know the truth, his 
object was not to make them learned, but to make them 
happy and useful citizens.^ Ever since the days of Socra- 
tes, philosophy has regarded it as her prerogative to take 
the place of religion, morality, and positive faith, in the 
absence of a universally recognized official religion. This 
accounts for the peculiar character of the Socratic and 
post-Socratic schools, which are as much religious brother- 
hoods as learned schools. For Socrates, who is, to a cer- 
tain extent, a national thinker, a full-fledged Athenian, 
and for whom actual life has greater charms than abstract 
theory, wisdom or knowledge is not the goal ; it is the 
means, the indispensable means, of right living, as essential 
to the private individual as to the citizen and statesman. 
The intimate relation wliich exists between knowledge and 

1 Plato, ThewAntm, 149 A, 151. Mem. TV., 7, 1. 

2 Mevi., T., 1, 11 ; Aristotle, Met, I., 6; XIII., 4; De part, anim., 
I., 1, 642 ; Cicero, TuscuL, V., 4. 



will constitutes the fundamental principle and, in a meas- 
ure, the very soul of his philosophy. The essential thought 
is that the more a man thinks and knows, the better will 
he act ; that our moral value is cUrectly proportional to our 
lights. From this principle the other characteristic propo- 
sitions of his philosophy necessarily follow, namely : that 
virtue is teachable ; that it is one^ which means that we 
cannot be virtuous in one thing without being so in all 
things, or vicious in one without being so in all ; finally, 
that no one is voluntarily bad; that evil is the fruit of 

The ethical system of Socrates is a mean between the 
idealism of Pythagoras and the realism that is inseparable 
from the sensationalistic and materialistic trend of the Ionian 
schools. It aims at the ideal, but it loves to express this 
ideal in sensible forms, to reflect moral beauty in physical 
beauty. Socrates is far from being an ascetic : he strives 
to subdue nature, to make it the instrument of intelli- 
gence, to rule over it as an absolute master ; but he never 
dreams of suppressing it.^ He is a Grecian and an Athen- 
ian above everything else, and so sensitive to external 
charms and physical beauty that he feels himself obliged 
to wasre constant war with the allurements of matter. 

He agrees with his predecessors on religious matters in 
that he repudiates mythology and its fables, without, how- 
ever, being a free-thinker in the modern sense. His spirit- 
ualistic faith is not even devoid of superstition. He 
believes in the supernatural, in superior beings who watch 
over nations and inspire individuals {haiixovia). But he 
strongly emphasizes the universality of Providence, and 
thereby attacks the particularism of the Athenians, thus 
paving the way for the notion of the universal brotherhood 
of man, taught by Stoicism and Christianity 

^ Mem., III. 9 ; IV., 6 ; Arist., Elh. Nic, III., 1 ; VI., 13. 

2 Plato, Symposium, 176, 214, 220. 

3 il/em.,L, 4, 18; IV., 13, 13. 



In short, the founder of Attic philosophy is very much 
inferior, as a theorist, to his modern antitype, Emanuel 
Kant. Owing to his heroic death, his importance, though 
great, was overrated at the expense of that of his pre- 
decessors, who were philosophers of the highest order. But 
he is, nevertheless, one of those reformers whose sojourn 
on earth has been productive of lasting and fruitful re- 
sults. His great work consists in having given to con- 
science the honored place which it deserves, in having 
reinstated the absolute, immutable, and universal. At a 
time when men publicly declared that good and evil are 
relative, and that the rule for judging an act is not the 
" changing " law of conscience, but its success, he had the 
courage to proclaim the authority of a conscience that 
merely varies in appearance, and the superiority of the 
moral law over individual caprice. Now, to maintain the 
absoluteness of morality meant the reform of philosophy 
as well as that of morals. For, in spite of what indepen- 
dent moralists may say, human thought cannot, without 
contradiction, afQrm the absolute in practice and yet deny 
it in theory. 

Of the many disciples of the new school, some, like 
Aristippus and Antisthenes, develop the ethical teachings 
of Socrates in opposition to the metaphysical speculations 
of the old schools ; others, like Euclides and Plato, unite 
the Socratic conception of the highest good and the Eleatic 
notion of the absolute, the end of the moralists and the first 
cause of the metaphysicians, and thereby re-establish the 
union between the philosophy of morals and the philosophy 
of nature, which had been dissolved by scepticism. 



§ 15. Aristippus and Hedonism. — Antisthenes and Cynicism. 
Euclides and the School of Megara 

1. Aristippus of Cyrene ^ was a sensualistic Sophist 
before joining the Socratics, and adhered to the theoretical 
teachings of that school. With Protagoras, he maintains 
that all our knowledge is subjective, and that we cannot 
know what things are in themselves. He sharply dis- 
tinguishes between the object of knowledge and Kant's 
thing-in-itself^ that is, the external and absolutely unknown 
cause of our sensations (to ifiTroLrjTL/cbv rod TrdOov^^? His 
ethics, too, is more in accord with the principles of Pro- 
tagoras than those of Socrates. Pleasure (rjSovri) is, ac- 
cording to him, the ultimate aim of life. Hence the name 
hedonism is applied to his doctrine, which must not, how- 
ever, be interpreted as a coarse sensualism. He is a follower 
of Socrates and his moral principles on this important 
point, and demands, above all, moderation in indulgence, 
rational self-command in presence of the allurements of 
sense, and intelligent control of tlie vulgar instincts of our 
nature. We must, he said, remain masters of ourselves 
under all circumstances, so that we may say ; ov/c 
exofiaL^ or, as the Latin poet translates the maxim of 
Aristippus : — 

— Mihi res non vie rehus suhjimgere conor.^ 

Mental pleasures, friendship, paternal and filial love, art 
and literature, take precedence, in the scale of enjoyments, 
over fleeting sensuous feelings ; and the wise man should 
particularly seek, not the pleasures of the moment, but 

1 Diog. L., 11. ; Sext. Emp,, Adv. math., VII., 191-192 ; [Ritter 
and Preller, pp. 207 ff. ; Miillach, II., 397 ff- ; Wendt, De pUlosoplda 
Cyrenaica, Gottingen, 1841. — Tr.] ; H. v. Stein, De pJiilosophia 
Cyrenaica, Gottingen, 1855 ; [Watson, Hedonistic Theories from 
Aristippus to Spencer, New York, 1895]. 

2 Sext. Emp., Ado. math., VII., 191. 

3 Horace, Epistles, I., 1, 17. 



lasting joys, a permanent state of moral content (%a/3a, 
evhai^ovLo), Moreover, Aristipj^us and his adherents agree 
with the Sophists that all action has for its motive the 
desire to be happy, and for its end the pleasure which the 
act procures. They likewise agree with Protagoras in 
religion. The hedonists were outspoken freethinkers, and 
helped to demolish the remnants of the polytheistic faith 
among the educated classes. In a work entitled The Gods, 
Theodorus of Cyrene, called the Atheist,^ openly espoused 
atheism; another hedonist, Euhemerus,^ held, in a sensa- 
tional treatise {lepa ava^pci<^r) that the gods were heroes, 
kings, and distinguished men who had been deified after 
their death. This theory proved very acceptable to a great 
number of Romans, and even Clu*istians, who rejoiced at 
having paganism furnish them with such powerful weapons 
against itself. However narrow this view may seem, it 
has the merit of being one of the first attempts at a 
science which it has been left to our age to study and 
develop : I mean the philosophy of religion. 

Hedonism passes through a process of evolution which 
may, at first sight, seem surprising, but which is no more 
than natural ; it changes into pessimism in the pliilosophy 
of Hegesias,* called iretaLddvaTo^ persuader to die "). 
This evolution was the logical outcome of the hedonistic 
principle. The aim of life is, according to the Cyrenaic 
school, pleasure ; the sensation of the moment (rjSovr] iv 
KLvqaei)^ according to some, permanent pleasure or happi- 
ness (%ci/3a, €vBaLjjLovLa\ according to others. Now experi- 
ence proves that life affords more pain than pleasure, and 

1 About 310 B. c. ; a contemporary and protege of Demetrius of 
Phalerus and of Ptolemy I. [Fragments of the Cyrenaics in Mullach. 
11., pp. 397 ff. ; Ritter and Preller, 207 ff. — Tr.] 

2 About 310 B. c. 

2 Fragments preserved by Diodorus and Eusebius. 
^ A contemporary of Ptolemy I. 


that unalloyed happiness is a dream. Hence the end of 
life is not and cannot be realized. Life, therefore, has no 
value. As a consequence, death is preferable to life ; for 
death at least procures for us the only happiness possible 
to human beings, a negative happiness consisting in the 
absolute suppression of pain.^ This is the way in which 
Hegesias reasons, and all must reason who regard pleasure, 
joy, or happiness as the only end of life (reXo?). Life has 
real value only for such as recognize a higher aim, namely, 
moral goodness, the performance of duty, virtue for virtue's 
sake ; in other words, life has value only for him who con- 
siders it as a means and not as an end in itself, that is, in 
short, for the idealist. For liim, virtue is the highest good. 
Now virtue can be realized only by living beings. Hence 
life itself, being the means and indispensable condition of 
virtue or of the highest good, is a relative good, and not 
the summum homcm. Hence moral idealism necessarily ex- 
cludes pessimism. 

The hedonistic school, v, liich again becomes optimistic in 
Anniceris of Cyrene,^ is continued by the school of Epi- 
curus,'^ who supplements the ethics of Aristippus with the 
physics of Democritus. 

2. Antisthekes.^ — The idealistic teachings of Socrates 
are reproduced and exaggerated by Antisthenes of Athens, 
the founder of the Cynic school. The school was named 
after the gymnasium of Kynosarges^ where Antisthenes 
delivered his lectures. Its motto is : Virtue for virtue's 
sake ; Virtue is the final and only goal of all our actions ; 

^ Cicero, Tusc, I., 34 : A mciUs mors ahducit. 

2 About 300 B. c. See Diog. L., IT., 93 if. 

3 §19. 

^ Diog. L., VI. ; [for A. and his school, see also, Mullach, IT., 
pp. 261 ff. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 216 ff. ; Duemmler, Antisthenica^ 
Halle, 1882. — Tk.] 



Virtue is the highest good. The Cynics, his successors, go 
so far in their enthusiasm as to proclaim the doctrine that 
pleasure is an evil ; that man cannot be virtuous unless he 
renounces all material and even intellectual })leasures ; they 
even reject mental culture and philosophy itself as evils. 
Despising, as they did, the pleasures of social life, they 
came to violate the simplest rules of politeness, and, in 
principle at least, rebelled against the laws themselves. 
For a life of refinement and civilization these " Rousseaus of 
antiquity " substitute the state of nature ; cosmopolitanism 
takes the place of patriotism. The principle of individual 
autonomy, which had been proclaimed by the Sophists and 
by Socrates, passes from theory into practice. Not all the 
Cynics, however, are radicals. We must make allowances 
in the well-known history of Diogenes of Sinope,^ the dis- 
ciple of Antisthenes, for popular malice, which naturally 
goes to extremes, and is apt to culminate in caricature. 
The moral idealism of Antisthenes, which was disfigured by 
the exaggerations of some of the Cynic philosophers, reap- 
peared in a new and purer form in the doctrines of Zeno 
and the Stoics. 

3. EucLiDES,^ the founder of the school of Megara, 
made the first attempt to give the ethical system of the 
master a metaphysical support, which he finds in the phil- 
osophy of the Eleatics. He accepts the teaching of Par- 
menides that being is one, and the Socratic notion concern- 
ing the reality of the vov<=: and of moral principles. From 
these premises he boldly draws the conclusion, which was 
again advanced by Fichte in modern times, that mind or 
goodness is being, the only absolutely-existing being. All 

^ [Goetthng, Diogenes der Kyniker oder die Philosophie des grieschi- 
schen Proletariats (Geschichtl. Abhandlgn., vol. I.), Halle, 1851. — Tr.] 

2 Diog. L., n. [Ritter and Preller, pp. 223 fC. ; Mallet, Histoire de 
Vecole de Megare, etc., Paris, 1845. — Tr.] 



we know of Euclides is summed up in this sentence. But 
this alone assures him a distinguished place among the Attic 
philosophers ; his system forms the connecting link between 
Socrates and Plato. The school of Megara, which Stilpo ^ 
made famous, and that of Elis, which was founded by 
Phsedo,^ the favorite pupil of Socrates, devoted themselves 
to the development of eristic dialectics, but soon found 
themselves eclipsed by the schools of Plato, Aristotle, 
Epicurus, and Zeno. 

During the first period, philosophical interest was cen- 
tered upon nature and the problem of becoming. Spec- 
ulative Socraticism inaugurates the era of the philosophy 
of mind, which predominates in the second period, and 
in turn becomes (A) idealism, (B) materialism and eudse- 
monism, and (C) concrete spiritualism, according as it re- 
gards as the essence and highest aim of our being, thought 
(Plato and Aristotle), sensation (Epicurus), or voluntary 
action (Stoicism). 

A. Negation of Matter. Apotheosis of Thought 
§ 16. Plato 

Plato of Athens was born of a noble family, about 427. 
He received his first instruction from Cratylus, the disciple 
of Heraclitus, then became a pupil of Socrates, and later of 
Euclides of Megara, who introduced him to the study of 
Parmenides. The mathematical speculations of the Pytha- 
goreans also exerted a decided influence upon the develop- 
ment of his thought. From 385 to the close of his life 
(347), he taught philosophy in the Academy, a place which 
was presented to him by generous friends and for centuries 
remained in possession of the Platonic school. 

1 Diog. L., II. ; Seneca, Ep. IX. 

2 Diog. L., loc. cit. 



It is not a matter of indifference, says a great writer,^ by 
which door we enter life. Socrates, the child of a family 
of artisans and himself an artisan during his younger days, 
took pleasure in mingling with the crowd whose follies he 
despised, and endeavored to instruct, elevate, and ennoble 
them. Plato, the descendant of Codrus and of Solon, was 
by birth predestined to become the author of the aristocratic 
Bepublic^ the idealistic philosopher, for whom form is every- 
thing and matter a contamination, an obstacle, and a 
check ; the poet-prophet who will have nothing to do 
with vulgar reality, and whose home is in the realms of the 
eternal, the absolute, and the ideal ; the favorite teacher of 
the Fathers of the Church, the theosophists, and the mys- 
tics. Socrates exercises a somewhat prosy cautiousness in 
his thought. He is not willing to take any risks, he avoids 
hypothesis and the unknown. The philosophy of Plato is 
conspicuous for its bold imprudence, its love of adventure 
and mystery. His speculation is not like the Philistine 
whose life is spent in the market-place or in the workshop, 
and whose world is measured by the narrow boundaries of 
his native town ; it is the lord of the manor, who retires to 
his mansion, after having seen the world, and turns his 
gaze towards the distant horizon ; disdaining the noise of 
the cross-roads, he mingles only in the best society, where 
is heard the most elegant, the noblest, and the loftiest 
language that has ever been spoken in the home of the 

Plato is the oldest Greek philosopher whose writings 
have been preserved, and the only one of whom we possess 
the complete works Of the treatises attributed to him by 

1 Goethe. 

' The principal modern editions of Plato's Complete Works: The 
Bipontine edition, Zweibriicken, 1781-87 ; Tauchnitz, Leipsic, 1813 ff. ; 
Bekker, Berlin, 1816-23, London, 182G ; F. Ast, Leipsic, 1819-32 ; 
Stallbaum, Leipsic, 1821 ff. ; Baiter, Orelli, and Winckelmann, Zurich, 



tradition some are surely spurious ; others, like the Par- 
menides, the Sophist, the Cratylus, and the Philebus, are 
of doubtful origin. Criticism has also, but without just 
grounds, questioned the authorship of the Apology/ and the 
Crito. The writings whose genuineness is beyond doubt 
are nine in number, namely: (1) The Phcedrus^ which 
opposes the selfish rhetoric of the Sophists with the true 
eloquence of the philosopher, whose chief object is the 
knowledge of the invisible world; (2) the Protagoras, or 
the Socratic doctrine of virtue ; (3) the Symposium, or con- 
cerning the different manifestations of the eras, from sensual 
love to the philosophical love of beauty, truth, and good- 
ness, as this was personified in Socrates ; (4) the Gorgias, 
the true sage as opposed to the Sophist; (5) the Republic, 
or concerning the State which realizes the idea of justice ; 
(6) the Timmus, or concerning the nature and origin of the 

1839-42 ; Ch. Schneider (Greek and Latin), Paris, 1846-56 ff. ; K. F- 
Hermann, Leipsic, 1851-53 ; [Schanz, Leipsic, 1875 ff. Ritter and 
Preller, pp. 233 ff.]. 

[The Dialogues of Plato. Translated into English, tvith Analyses and 
Introductions, by B. Jowett, 4 vols., Oxford, 1871 ; 3d ed. revised and 
corrected, 5 vols.. New York and London, 1892 ; Platans Werke, Ger- 
man transl. by Sclileiermacher, 3d ed,, Berlin, 1855-62; also by H. 
Miiller, 8 vols., Leipsic, 1S50-G6. — Tr.] ; Plato's Works, French transl. 
by V. Cousin, 8 vols., Paris, 1825-40. 

For Plato and his writings, consult: [Ast, Platons Lehen und 
Schriften, Leipsic, 1816 ; K. F. Hermann, Geschiclite und System der 
platonischen PMlosopliie, Heidelberg, 1839] ; Grote, Plato and the other 
Companions of Socrates, 3 vols., London, 1865 [new ed. 1885], also the 
same author's History of Greece ; Schaarschmidt, Die Sammlnng der 
platonischen Schriflen, Bonn, 1866 ; Fouillee, La philosophie de Platon. 
Exposition, histoire, et critique de la theorie des idees, 2d ed., Paris, 1888-89; 
[Chaignet, La vie et les ecrits de Platon, Paris, 1871 ; Benard, Platon. 
Sa philosophie, precede'e d'un aperf;u de sa vie et de ses ecrits, Paris, 1892; 
Huit, La vie et Vceuvre de Platon, 2 vols., Paris, 1893 ; Pater, Plato and 
Platonism, New York and London, 1893; Van Oordt, Plato and his 
Times, Oxford and the Hague, 1895 ; B. Bosanquet, A Companion to 
Plato's Republic, New York, 1895]. 



world ; (7) the Thecetetus, or concerning knowledge and 
Ideas ; (8) the Phcedo^ or concerning the immortality of the 
soul ; (9) the Laws^ a work which seems to be a partial 
retraction of the Republic. These treatises are dialogues.^ 
Socrates is the chief spokesman in the majority of them, 
and his speeches reflect the author's thought most faith- 
fully. His use of the dialogue-form enables Plato to 
present us with liis own philosophy as well as with the his- 
tory of its origin, or the manner in which it arose among 
the Socratics. It is true, the dialogue-form may perhaps 
be objected to on the ground that it hinders us from ob- 
taining a comprehensive view of the author's philosophy ; 
indeed, the statement has been made that it is so difficult 
to systematize Plato's teachings because of his use of the 
dialogue. The reverse seems to be the case ; in our opin- 
ion Plato employs this form precisely because he has no 
finished system like Plotinus, Spinoza, and Hegel. The 
dialogue might be regarded as an unsuitable method of 
exposition in case it concealed the philosopher's thoughts. 
But it hides nothing ; form and content are here the same, 
and the dialogues of Plato present his philosophy in its 
psychological development.''^ 

A real difficulty, however, arises from the frequent use 
of myths and allegories. Plato employs them, either in 
order to assist his readers in understanding abstract truths, 
or in order to mislead the fanatical democracy as to 

1 Regarding the difficult question as to the chronological order of 
the dialogues of Plato, consult the Introductions of Schleiennacher, the 
German translator of Plato, and the investigations of Socher, Ast, 
K. F. Hermann, Bonitz, Zeller, Susemihl, Suckow, Munck, Ueberweg, 
[Schaarschmidt, Teichmiiller, and Siebeck ; also, Horn, Platonstudienf 
Vienna, 1893. — Tr.]. 

2 Concerning the genesis of Platonism, see Karl Joel, Zur Erkennt- 
niss der geistigen Entwickelung und der schriftste.llerischen Motive Plato*Sy 
Berlin, 1887 (reviewed by M. Reinach in the Revue critique, Aug. 22, 



his religious convictions,^ or, finally, in order to hide the 
contradictions of his thought and to escape philosophical 
criticism by seeking refuge in the licence of the poet. 
Most of the Platonic myths are mere allegories, which, 
as the author himself cautions us, must be taken for what 
they are worth. Some of them, however, seem to express 
the philosopher's real views. Hence the difficulty which 
we experience in the Timceus and the Phceclo^ of distinguish- 
ing clearly betw^een the pedagogical element and the teach- 
ing itself, between the accidental and the essential, between 
the poetical symbol and the real meaning. Though Plato 
himself gives us an allegorical exposition of the drama of 
creation in his Timceus^ does it therefore follow that the 
idea of creation is absolutely foreign to his mind ? When 
he speaks of a creator and follows popular fancy in pictur- 
ing him as a human workman, does that mean that theism 
is not the essential element of his thought? The Phmdo^ 
too, is full of mythological allegories, but who would have 
the boldness to declare, with Hegel, that Plato assumed 
pre-existence and immortality only for the world-soul and 
the divine voO? ? We must, in choosing between the idea 
and the form, — a delicate and rather difficult task, — avoid 
two contrary conceptions, both of which our historical sense 
would compel us to reject. In the first place, we must not 
be deceived by Plato's symbolism ; we must not lay too 
much stress on what is but a literary form, and mistake 
mere figures of speech for the hidden meaning of things. 
But we must also abandon the notion that Plato was too 
great a man to be influenced in his reason by the imagi- 
nation. We have no right to make him a Christian or a 
modern philosopher. It is undoubtedly true that Catholic 
mysticism borrows extensively from Platonic theology, and 
it is equally certain that Plato's dialectics contain the rudi- 

1 Timcjem, 28 C, 29 C-D. 




ments of the Hegelian system. But twenty centuries of 
development lie between the sowing of the seed and the 
full fruition, and we cannot identify the beginning and the 
end without anachronism. It is not enough to point out 
that the future is contained in the past ; we must also in- 
dicate in what form it is found there, and show that this is 
not the final stage of evolution. 

Plato is the product of Heraclitian, Socratic, and Italian 
philosophy. With the school of Heraclitus he believes that 
the visible universe is in a state of perpetual change, that 
the senses are deceptive and cannot yield us truth, that the 
immutable does not exist in the world of sense, but in the 
world of ideas. From Socrates he learned that though we 
cannot know the ultimate principles of the universe, we can 
at least know ourselves, and that we can attain to a knowl- 
edge of the highest good through an infallible inner sense. 
But Socrates remained a sceptic as far as metaphysics 
v^as concerned. The Italic philosophy induced Plato to 
take a decisive step. In the Pj^thagorean and Eleatic 
systems he finds the inner sense (of Socrates) proclaimed, 
not only as the moral conscience and practical reason, 
but as theoretical reason, capable of revealing to us the 
absolute, eternal, and necessary essence of things. In 
mathematics and its self-evident axioms he discovers the 
most powerful weapon against the irdvra pel^ in the 
sense in which Cratylus and the Sophists applied the 
principle. Geometry made a particularly deep impres- 
sion upon him : the geometrical method served as a model 
for his metaphysics. Indeed, he even borrowed his philo- 
sophical vocabulary from this science. Geometry is based 
on a iiriori intuitions ; lines, triangles, circles, and spheres, 
are ideal figures or intelligible realities ; their properties 
remain the same forever, and survive all the changes of 
the material world which reflects them. It is a rational 
science and has nothing to do with sense-perception, of 


which its truths are absolutely independent. Hence Plato's 
philosophy is, like mathematics^ the only self-evident and 
necessary science, a science of a priori intuition and rea- 
soning. Because of their resemblance to the principles of 
geometry, these a priori intuitions, upon which the sys- 
tem is grounded, are called Ideas {eiSr], ISeai)^ or unchange- 
able forms, or the eternal types of fleeting things, or nou- 
mena (voovfieva), the objects of true science (iTrtarri/jLTj) as 
distinguished from phenomena, the objects of sense-percep- 
tion {aLa6rjai<;) and opinion (Bo^a). The philosophy of Plato 
is the science of Ideas. It is called dialectics after its new 
method. To this science of first principles, which is the 
fundamental and only science worthy of the name, is added 
the theory of nature {(f>vaLKrj). The latter, however, is of 
secondary importance, and does not deserve the name of 
science. Ethics^ or the science of the liighest good, is the 
last branch of dialectics and the crown of pliilosophy. 

Hence we have to consider with Plato : (1) The Idea as 
such ; (2) the Idea acting upon matter as a plastic principle, 
or nature ; and (3) the Idea as the final goal of nature, or 
the highest good. 

1. The IdeaI 

When we compare the mother who gives up her life for 
her child, the warrior who dies in defence of his country, 
and the philosopher who sacrifices himself for his convic- 
tions, we notice a similarity in their actions ; they have 
the same common trait, and reproduce one and the same 
type, — the Idea of the good. When we com23are a mas- 
terpiece of architecture or of sculpture with a tragedy of 
Sophocles and a beautiful human form, we discover in 

1 For Plato's dialectics and ideology, see especially the Thewtetus 
(151 ff.)' the Sophut (218 If.), the PUlehus (15, 54, 58 ff.), Parmenides 
(130 ff.), and the Republic (especially books VI. and VII.). 



these apparently different objects a common trait, — beauty, 
or the Idea of the beautiful. When we compare the indi- 
viduals of a species, say the human race, we find in them 
a number of qualities common to all, an identical type; 
these common characteristics, or the type which is repro- 
duced in all, constitute man-in-himself (avTodv6p(07ro^\ or 
the Idea of man. Finally, when we compare all the beings 
perceived by our senses, we notice that all have this in 
common : they exist or do not exist, they move or are at 
rest, they are identical or they differ from each other. 
Now, this being, shared by all, this non-being, or movement, 
or rest, or identity, or difference, is what Plato calls the 
Idea of being, the Idea of movement, etc. Hence he un- 
derstands by the term Ideas (etSr), iheai) : (1) what modern 
philosophy calls laws of thought, morality, or taste (ISeai) ; 
(2) what Aristotle calls categories, or the general forms by 
means of which we conceive things, and which are em- 
braced under the preceding class (yevr)) ; (3) what natural 
science calls types, species, or, as Plato would say. Ideas 
(etBr) proper). In short, he means by Ideas all possible 
generalizations; there are as many of them as there are 
common names. Every common name designates an Idea, 
as every proper name designates an individual. The 
senses reveal particulars, or natural objects; abstraction 
and generalization (iiraycoyrj) give us Ideas. 

The great mission of Socrates was to form general ideas. 
But, like the sensationalistic school, which he opposed in 
other respects, Socrates simply regarded these ideas as 
thoughts or concepts of the mind {ivvo7]/jiaTa). At this point 
Plato shows his originality. According to sensualism, our 
sense-perceptions alone represent real beings existing out- 
side of us. According to Plato, general notions or concepts 
also represent realities, and these realities, these objects of 
our notions, which sensualism denies, he calls Ideas. Ideas 
are to our notions what natural objects are to our sense- 




perceptions : th^y are their objective causes. The objects 
which the dece jtive and vulgar organs of sense present to 
us we regard as real objects ; while the Ideas which we 
acquire through reason, the messenger of the gods, are 
looked upon by us as fleeting shadows that come and go 
with self-consciousness ! If we consider sensible objects 
as real, how much greater reason have we to assume the 
reality of the objects of the intellect ! The general Ideas, 
expressed by our concepts. Good, Being, Identity, Man, 
etc., are therefore realities. Hence the name realism was 
inaptly applied to mediseval Platonism, which is diametri- 
cally opposed to modern realism, Platonic realism is 
thorough-going idealism, the theory which conceives Ideas 
as real beings. 

What ! Shall we say. Ideas are real beings ; the Idea of 
being, more real than being ; the Idea of the sun as real 
and even more real than the sun which shines upon us 
from the heavens ; the Idea of man as real, and even much 
more real than Socrates, Antisthenes, and Euclides ! Com- 
mon-sense rebels against such paradoxes. Socrates I see, 
but I do not see the man-type ; I see beautiful men, beau- 
tiful statues, and beautiful paintings ; I do not see the 
beautiful as such. I see moving bodies ; I do not see 
motion as such, or the Idea of movement; I see living 
beings, but being or life in itself I cannot see anywhere. 
All these generalizations exist only in my mind, and have 
nothing real corresponding to them. Plato answers such 
objections by saying that when the sensualist sees beauti- 
ful objects and just acts, and fails to perceive beauty as 
such, or justice as such, it is because he lias the sense for 
the former, while his sense for Ideas or his reason is at 
fault. If this were sufficiently developed, it would no 
longer see the real reality (to 6vtco<; 6v) in material exist- 
ence, but in the Ideas ; it would look for reality, not in 
the world of sense, but in the intelligible world. We 



consider general Ideas as the mental copies of sensible 
beings, whose reality we assume. The reverse is true; 
the Ideas are the models or the originals, and the natural 
beings or the individuals are the copies. The Ideas are 
both our thoughts {\6jol) and the eternal objects (ra ovra) 
of these thoughts ; they are the tJioughts of God^ which no 
human intelligence can wholly reproduce, but which are 
none the less real, absolutely real. 

Let us take the Idea of the beautiful, or beauty absolute 
{avTo TO KaXov). For the sensationalist, the beautiful, like the 
good and the just, is a quality which we abstract in thought 
(^ahstrahere) from the sensible objects, and which does not 
exist apart from these objects. For Plato, the beautiful is 
a reality ; it is not only real, but much more real than all 
the beautiful things put together. Whatever endures is 
more lasting and therefore more real than that which 
passes away. Now, every beautiful object, be it a man or 
a statue, an act or an individual, is doomed to destruction 
and oblivion ; heautij in itself is imperishable. Hence it 
must be more real than all the things the sensationalist calls 
beautiful. So, too, the type of man is more real than the 
particular man, because it remains unchanged, while the 
individual passes away ; the Idea of the tree or flower is 
more real than a particular tree or a particular flower, 
because it endures. Tlie Idea is what it expresses ; it is 
this ahsolvtely and without qualification ; all we can say of 
the sensible object is tliat it has something of what the 
Idea ^s, that it partakes of it (fxerexei)^ while the Idea is 
undivided being. 

Let us again inquire into the beautiful, which is Plato's 
favorite Idea,i and whicli he loves to identify with the 
good. Its manifestations in the sensible world are only 
relatively beautiful, that is, as comj)arcd with ugly objects ; 

* Symposkmi, 21 Iff. 



they are not beautiful when we compare them with more 
beautiful things. They are fair to-day, foul to-morrow; 
fair at one place, or in one relation, or in one point of view, 
or to one person ; foul under different circumstances and 
in the judgment of other persons. Hence everything in the 
world of phenomenal beauty is relative, fleeting, and uncer- 
tain. Ideal beauty {avro to koXov) is ever-lasting ; without 
beginning and without end ; without diminution and with- 
out decay; invariable, immutable, and absolute (/JbovoeiSe^ 
ael ov) ; it is beautiful in all its relations and from all 
points of vie^v ; it is beautiful at all times and in all places 
and for all persons ; it is pure and clear and unalloyed, 
and therefore transcends the powers of the imagination 
{eiXiicpLve^^ dfjLLfCTov, KaOapov). It is neither a mere notion 
nor purely individual knowledge (ouSe rt? Xojos ov8e rh 
€7naTr)fjL7j}, but an eternal reality. 

What is true of the beautiful is true of the great and the 
small, and of all Ideas in general. Simmias is tall as com- 
pared with Socrates, but small l^y the side of Phcedo. The 
Idea of the great is great in all points of view ; it is abso- 
lutely great. Hence to sum up : (1) The Ideas are real 
beings; (2) the Ideas are more real than the objects of 
sense ; (3) the Ideas are the ojilij true realities ; the ob- 
jects of sense possess a merely borrowed existence, a 
reality Avhich they receive from the Ideas. The Ideas 
are the eternal patterns (irapaSeiyf-iara) after which the 
things of sense are made; the latter are the images 
(eiScoXa), the imitations, the imperfect copies (o/jbouo/jiaTa^ 
/xLp.riaeL^ i). The entire sensible world is nothing but a 
symbol, an allegory, or a figure of speech. The mean- 
ing, the Idea expressed by the thing, alone concerns the 
philosopher. His interest in the sensible world is like 
our interest in the portrait of a friend of whose living 
presence we are deprived. 

i Parmenides, 132 ; Timceus, 48. 



The world of sense is the copy of the world of Ideas ; 
and conversely, the world of Ideas resembles its image ; it 
forms a hierarchy. In our visible world there is a grada- 
tion of beings from the most imperfect creature to the 
perfect, sensible being, or the universe. The same holds 
true of tlie intelligible realm or the pattern of the world ; 
the Ideas are joined together by means of other Ideas of a 
higher order ; the latter, in turn, are embraced under others 
still more exalted, and so on ; the Ideas constantly increase 
in generality and force, until we reach the top, the last, the 
highest, the most powerful Idea or the Good, which com- 
prehends, contains, or summarizes the entire system, just 
as the visible universe, its copy, comprehends, contains, or 
summarizes all creatures. The relation existing between 
the Ideas and the highest Idea is analogous to that exist- 
ing between objects of sense and Ideas. The objects, as 
we have said, partake of the Ideas which they express ; ^ 
they exist, not in themselves, but as reflections of their 
Ideas ; they have no reality other than that which they 
receive from these Ideas ; they are, in short, to these Ideas 
what accidents are to substances. Similarly, the Ideas of 
a lower order exist by themselves and as substances, only 
as compared to their visible copies. As compared to the 
highest Ideas, they cease to be substances ; they become 
modes of the only really absolute Idea, the Idea of the 
Good ; in the presence of this sun of the intelligible 
world, their individuality passes away as the stars vanish 
at the coming of the orb of day. 

Hence the Ideas are both individual or self-existent 
atoms and members of a higher unity. Plato himself 
emphasizes the principle of the unity and connection 
of Ideas at the expense of their individuality; his dis- 
ciples, on the other hand, seem to lay more stress on the 

1 Phcedo, 100. 



atomic and hypostatic character of the Ideas than on their 
unity The clear and transparent Ideas of the master are, 
to use a figure of speech, precipitated by the school, and 
the Lyceum consequently censures the Academy for adding 
to the material world another wholly useless material 
world. The Ideas of Plato form a unity or an organism ; 
they live a common life ; and it is utterly impossible to 
separate them from each other and to make distinct beings 
of them.2 Indeed, they are independent of all time and 
space, that is, of the principle of separation and individuali- 
zation. It is true, Plato speaks of the heavens as their 
abode, whither we must rise in order to contemplate them 
in their divine purity.^ But this heaA^en is not a part of 
the physical universe. The home of the Ideas is not the 
same as that of the things {alaOrjTo^ toito^) ; it is sui gen- 
eris^ a place suitable to the nature of the Ideas, an ideal, 
intelligible place (vo7]Tb<=; tottos:) ; the home of the Ideas is 
mind (z^oO?), that is, the Idea as such. The Idea has no 
place outside of itself ; it does not, like the atoms of Demo- 
critus, exist by virtue of empty space, but by itself {avro 
KaO^ avTo). A prouder challenge could not be hurled at 
materialism : Space which you conceive as a condition of 
reality is quite the reverse ; it is the cause of non-being 
and impotence. The Idea is real because it is one and 
unextended^ and because unity is force, power, or reality. 
Now, that which is concentrated in the Idea as in a mathe- 
matical point, is distributed in space and time, scat- 
tered over a thousand places and a thousand different 
moments, and consequently enfeebled, impoverished, and 

1 This substantialization of the Ideas is already noticeable in the 
Sophist, and has been regarded by some as an argument against the 
genuineness of the dialogue. (See Schaarschmidt, in the work cited 

2 Meno, 81. 

3 Phcedrus, 247. 



relatively destroyed (firj 6v). Compared with the Idea, 
which you regard as a poor reflection of the real world, 
your supposed real world is itself but an Idea in the 
vulgar sense which you attach to the word, that is, a 
shadow, a nothing. The world is the relative; the Idea, 
the absolute (/ca^' avrh 6v). 

If the Idea is the absolute, what is God, to whom Plato 
often refers, and, as it seems, refers in different senses, 
sometimes using the plural, sometimes the singular? In 
the Timmihs^ the Creator (6 STjfjLLovpjo^) is spoken of as the 
eternal God (cov ael Oeo^, 6 deo^) ; his immediate creatures 
(the stars and the celestial spirits) are called 6eoi^ Oeol decov, 
ovpdvLov 0eo)v yevof; ; while the sensible u^niverse is a god in 
process of becoming (iao/jievo^ 6e6^). Evidently, the god who 
is to he and the created divinities are accommodations to 
official polytheism, and the Creator is the only true God. 
But even this highest God does not seem to be absolute ; in 
creating the universe he contemplates the eternal (to athLov\ 
which serves as his model. Now, the Idea or the Good is 
the eternal. Hence the Creator is dependent on the Idea as 
the cop3 ist depends on the pattern which he follows. In 
order that the Creator may be the Supreme Being or the 
absolute, the model must be the Idea in itself or the Good 
personified. The assumption of an intermediate principle 
is apparently a necessary consequence of Plato's dualism 
between Idea and matter, while the conception of the 
Demiurge as a workman following a pattern forms a part 
of the mythical element in the narrative ; the Creator and 
the pattern of creation are merged in the creative Idea, of 
which the Demiurge is the poetical personification. God 
and the Idea are so closely identified in Plato that it seems 
at times as though God depended on the Idea, at others, as 
though the Idea sprang from God as the eternal source of 

^ TimcBus, 28, 34, 41, passim. 




all things. Since God is sometimes represented as below 
and sometimes as above the Idea, nothing is left to us but 
to take the middle ground and to say that the God of Plato 
is neither inferior nor superior to the Idea, but that he 
coincides with it, or that he is the Idea itself, considered 
as an active, plastic, and creative principle. That the 
Platonic school identified God with the absolute Idea may 
be readily inferred from the attributes which are ascribed 
to the Good and to the Supreme Being. A brief compari- 
son will suffice to convince us of this fact. The absolute 
Idea (the Good, the One) is the lord of the spiritual world, 
as the sun is the lord of the visible world.^ It even exceeds 
being and essence in dignity and power.^ It is the uni- 
versal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of 
light and of the lord of light in tliis visible world, and the 
immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual. 
On the other hand, the God of gods is represented to us as 
the eternal cause of the good in the world ; as the supreme 
wisdom, by the side of which all human philosophy is im- 
perfect ; as the supreme justice, law-giver, and highest law, 
who rules the beginning, the end, and the middle of things ; 
as the pu]'e reason which has nothing to do with matter or 
with evil.^ Hence, there cannot be the least doubt that the 
God of Plato is the absolute Idea of the good. Does that 
mean that because his god is an Idea he is not a reality ? 
On the contrary; because he is an Idea, and nothing hut 
an Idea^ he is the highest reality ; for, from Plato's point 
of view, the Idea only is real. 

Now the Idea does not exist in space proper, but in the 

1 Republic, VI, 508 D. 

^ OvK ovcrlas ovrus rov dyadov aXX' ert eVeKeim rrjs ovcrias 7rpfcr/3fta 
KCLL bvvdfi€i vnepexovTOS- 

^ Republic, VI, 506 ff. ; VIT, 517 : Tlavrav avrrj (17 rov dya6ov idea) 
opOwv re Koi Kokayv alria . . . ovata dtdios Tr]s t dyadov ^vo-ecos alria . . . eu 
re 6paT(o cf)Ci>s . ■ . rfKOvaa, iv re uorjT^ . . . dXrjdeiav, Kai vovv 7rapa(r-}(^()fi€vri^ 



intelligence which is its natural and, in a certain sense, its 
native abode. It cannot, therefore, come to us from with- 
out,i and it is a mistake to derive it from sensation. Tlie 
absolute Idea, and with it all the other Ideas, are original 
endowments of the mind ; they form its very essence. But 
they are at first latent in the mind, and we are not con- 
scious of them. The senses show us their external copies, 
and, to a certain extent, remind us of the originals existing 
in us {avdfjbvrjcn<^). Sensation j^'^'ovoJccs Ideas ; it does not 
produce them. Its function consists in recalling to our 
minds the a priori Ideas which we possess without suspect- 
ing it. Moreover, the senses are deceptive ; and instead of 
revealing the truth, they keep it from us. Reasoning 
{yoTjai,^) is the only road to truth ; and this springs from 
love (e/0(W9). The love of truth is but a particular form of 
universal love. The homesick soul, living in exile in the 
world of sense, fervently longs to be united with the ab- 
solute, to come face to face Avith the principle of liglit and 
truth. This pure and holy desire seeks for satisfaction 
in earthly emotions, in friendship and aesthetic pleasure 
But the human embodiments of the Idea, or the material 
incorporations of the Idea in art, do not satisfy it. It has 
need of the pure Idea, and this it strives to contemplate 
directly or immediately by means of pure thought. The 
enthusiasm of the lover and the artist is but a feeble begin- 
ning of the enthusiasm felt by the philosopher in the pres- 
ence of unveiled truth, ideal beauty, and absolute goodness. 

1 Strictly speaking, it is not even correct to say : it cannot come to 
us, etc. ; we should say : the knowledge of the Idea, the notion (Xoyoy) 
cannot come to us, etc. ; for the Idea exists independently of the notions 
of our mind ; it is 6vbe t\s \ny09 ovbe cTnaTfjixr} (p. 85) ; it neither 
comes nor goes ; all that comes to the mind, or becomes, or is formed, 
or is developed, is simply our concepts {(vuorjfiaTo.) , which, like the 
sensible things, are but shadowy copies of the eternal Ideas. — (Alle- 
gory of the Cave, Rep. VII.) 

^ Phcedrus, 242 ff, 



Moreover, the philosopher need not boast of having attained 
this ideal goal, for absolute truth is in God alone. ^ God, 
who has absolute truth because he is absolute truth, and 
the uncultured man, who does not even suspect its exist- 
ence, do not search for truth ; the love of truth (^t\oao(j){a) 
is peculiar to the man who is filled with, light from on 

In spite of its mystical character, Plato's method is 
rationalistic in the strict sense of the term. There is no 
contradiction between the terms mystical and rationalistic. 
Rationalism and mysticism are extremes that meet. In 
fact, idealistic rationalism, and the deductive method pecu- 
liar to it, invariably presuppose as their starting-point the 
immediate and a iiriori perception of an absolute principle, 
a perception which we call mystical, precisely because it is 
immediate and unanalyzable. Platonic idealism, like its 
offshoots, the systems of Plotinus, Spinoza, and Schelling, 
begins with a mystical act and culminates in a religion.^ 

2. Nature 

The transition from Idea to being, from metaphysics to 
physics, is not easy for Plato. If the Idea is self-sufficient, 
and if the intelligible world is a system of perfect beings, 
what is the use of a sensible reality, that must of necessity 
be imperfect, alongside of the Idea ? What is the use of a 
material world that is inevitably doomed to evil ? What is 
the use of copies by the side of the original, of copies that 
cannot reproduce it in its divine purity? The real Avorld 
is evidently as great a source of trouble to Plato as it 
was to Parmenides. It cannot be explained by the Idea 

^ Phoedrus, 278 : To fikv crocpov . . . e/xoiye /xcya etVai 8o/<ei koi 6(<i> 
[XUP<p 7rp€Tr€iu. 

2 See Hartmann, Philosophy of the Unconscious (translated by E. C. 
Thomas), the chapter entitled : On the Unconscious in Mysticism. 



alone, but presupposes a second principle, which is no less 
real than raincl: matter. Hence, when you assume the 
reality of the sensible world, you abandon the absolute 
monism of the Idea ; you confess that the Idea constitutes 
only a part of reality, and make concessions to sensualism 
and materialism. And yet the sensible world exists ; it is 
an undeniable and stubborn fact that has to be explained. 
Though full of imperfections, it is, after all, a sublime work 
of art, whose infinite harmonies inspire the idealist as well 
as the materialist with feelings of delight. The mind of 
man cannot wholly unravel the mysteries of the universe. 
Nevertheless, he should investigate it to the best of his 
abilit}^, and untiringly search for a satisfactory solution of 
the problem. Plato finds the key to the answer in the con- 
ception of divine goodness ; this enables his thought to 
pass from the ideal to the real.^ The Idea is the absolute 
good ; God is supreme goodness. Now the good or good- 
ness cannot but create the good. God is life, and life 
must create life. Hence God must create ; the Idea must 
reproduce itself. 

Inasmuch as the Idea is the only reality, there is nothing 
outside of it but non-being (/x?) 6v) . But, in so far as it is 
the highest reality, it is also the highest activity, the being 
that communicates itself to non-being. Hence, the Idea 
becomes a creator, a cause, a will, or a plastic principle 
in reference to non-being; so that non-being in turn be- 
comes like being {toiovto rt olov to 6V), and takes part in 
the absolute existence of the Idea (fcocvayvia, jmede^L^). 
The non-being thus becomes the first matter out of which 
the Idea forms, after its own image, the most perfect, 
divine, and finished visible world possible : it becomes mat- 
ter (uX?;), as Plato's successors would say. According to 
Plato and idealism, matter is nothing corporeal; it is that may become so, through the plastic action 
1 Timccus, 2d E. 



of the Idea. The body is a determinate, limited, qualified, 
and qualifiable thing; matter, considered as such and 
apart from the forms which the Idea impresses upon it, is 
the unlimited itself (to aireLpov) ; it is devoid of all positive 
attributes, and cannot therefore be designated by any posi- 
tive term, since every term determines ; it is the indefinable 
(aopLCTTov), the formless (afjiop(j)ov)^ the imperceptible [aopa- 
Tov). But though in itself indeterminate, formless, and 
imperceptible, it may, tlii^ough the plastic action of the 
Idea, receive all possible forms and determinations [irav- 
Se^e?) ; it may become the mother of all sensible things 
(iv (p fyiyverat to yiyvo/jLevov, ra iravra ^ep^oyLteVi;), the uni- 
versal recipient [he^apievrj). It is identical with space and 
the place filled by bodies (%w/oa, totto?!). It is not the 
product of the Idea, the creature of God, for : (1) Being 
cannot produce non-being, and matter is non-being (//.^ 6V); 
(2) creation is action ; now, all action presupposes an object 
to be acted upon, or an object which suffers action {ird- 
; hence the divine activity presupposes matter, and 
does not create it. Matter is the condition of the creative 
activity of the Idea (awaiTiov)^ and therefore co-eternal 
with God. The eternity of matter does not detract from 
the supreme majesty of the Idea {^acnXeLo) ; the Idea con- 
tinues to remain the highest being, while the eternal exist- 
ence of matter is equivalent to eternal non-being. 

But though eternal matter does not limit the Idea, which 
as such is absolute, it does, none the less, limit its operation 
in the universe. Matter is both the condition sine qua non 
of the action of the Idea and its eternal obstruction. It 
is both the indispensable auxiliary and the irreconcilable 
foe of the creative Idea. True, it is passive, but its pas- 

^ Aristotle, Phys., IV. 2: Aio koi UXarcov ttjv vXtju koi ttju ^^pav 
airo (firjaLV eivai Jp Ti/xaio) . . . o/zcos rov tottov koI rrjv ^oopav to dvro 
d7r€(pr)vaTo. Cf. C. Bseiimker, Das Problem der Materie in der griecJii 
schen Philosophie, Miinster, 1890. 



sivity does not consist in absolute non-interference. Its 
cooperation is resistance. It is formless and unlimited, 
and therefore opposes and resists the form, limitation, 
and finish which the eternal artist desires to give it ; 
this resistance manifests itself as inertia, weight, dispro- 
portion, ugliness, or stupidity. It is non-being or the 
perpetual negation of being, and consequently opposes and 
resists everything positive, stable, and immutable, and for- 
ever destroys the works of God. It is the primary cause 
of the imperfection of things, of physical and moral evil, 
as well as of their instability, their constant change, and of 
all that is uncertain, perishable, and mortal in them. 

From the union of the ideal or paternal principle with 
the material or maternal principle springs the cosmos, the 
only son and image of the invisible Divinity (uto? jjLovo^evr]^^ 
eUcov Tov 6eov\ the god that is to be (iaofjuepof; 6e6s:\ the 
visible god {aladrjro'i 6e6<^\ whose relative perfection re- 
minds us of the Father of the Universe (7roLr]Tr)<; koI irarr^p 
TOV iravTo^), the living animal (fwoz^), that reproduces, as 
faithfully as it can, the eternal ideal animal (^wov alStov). 
This cosmos has (1) a body (acofxa) governed by necessity 
(avdy/crj) ; (2) a rational content, a purpose, or a meaning 
(z^oO?, ^a>ov evvovv)^ a final goal for which it was made, an 
end to realize (jeXof;) ; and finally (3) a soul (^vxrj, ^^ov 
efjLslrvxov), the mysterious link which unites the contrary 
principles in the cosmos, and whose function it is to sub- 
ordinate the material world to the Idea, or to subject brutal 
necessity to reason, to adapt it to the final purpose of the 
Creator. The body of the universe has the shape of a 
sphere, which is the most beautiful form imaginable, 
and makes the world the most faithful image of its in- 
telligible archetype. It revolves upon its own axis and 
thus constantly returns to itself ; hence it executes the 
most perfect movement, a movement which of all possible 
movements is most appropriate to the eternal repose of the 



Idea and best symbolizes its immutability. It is perfect 
(reXeov) and not liable to old age (ayi^pcov) and disease 
{avoaov) ; for it comprehends all the forces of nature, and 
nothing outside of it can hurt or destroy it. The universe 
cannot be eternal like the creative Idea ; hence God makes 
it eternal, so far as this is possible ; that is, he creates end- 
less time. The z^oO? or mind of the universe, that is, the 
purpose revealed in its organization, or, in short, its final 
cause, is the most perfect possible reproduction (or as we 
should say nowadays, realization) of the Idea of the Good. 
Finally, the soul of the world consists of Number, which 
subjects chaotic matter to the laAvs of harmony and propor- 
tion (avaXoyLa)} 

Atomistic materialism rejects final causes, and therefore 
opposes the view that the world has a meaning, or that 
it realizes an idea. Platonic idealism takes the vov<i of 
Anaxagoras seriously, and explains the creation of the 
world wholly from the teleological point of view. It 
acknowledges the existence of physical causes, but it sub- 
ordinates them to final causes ; the former are the means 
or involuntary instruments of the latter. Thus, the ele- 
ments, in regard to which Plato follows Empedocles, are 
explained teleologically : fire, as a means of vision, earth, 
as a means of tactile perception. Two other elements are 
needed as intermediaries between these two extremes, that 
is, four in all, because the number four represents corporeal- 
ity. We have seen how Plato (who, like all true Pytha- 
goreans, is a geometrician above everything else) identifies 
matter and extension ; he is therefore forced, with the 
Eleatics, to reject the void, which, according to Deniocritus, 
exists alongside of matter. Since matter is identical with 
space, and since space is universally the same, the substances 
composing it are not heterogeneous, as Anaxagoras claimed ; 
the spaces, considered apart from their content, differ only 
1 Thnceus, 28 B, 31 C, 34 A, 39 D, 41 A, 92 B. 



in their outward form, or in figure. In this case Plato, 
who usually follows Pythagoras, involuntarily agrees with 
Leucippus and Democritus. Matter is divided into homo- 
geneous corpuscles of different shapes. Only, these figures 
are not accidental like the forms of the atoms ; they are 
absolutely geometrical, that is, ideal, final, and providen- 
tial. The solid element is composed of cubes ; water, 
of icosahedrons ; air, of octahedrons ; and ether, of 

After fashioning the first matter with a view to its ulti- 
mate structure, the divine architect created the stars, first 
the fixed stars, then the planets, and then the earth ; all 
these beings are created gods and therefore mortal in 
themselves ; they were, however, endowed with immortal- 
ity through the goodness of the Creator. At his command, 
these divinities, particularly the earth, the most venerable 
of all, produced organized beings, and, chief among these, 
man, the paragon of creation, for whom everything on earth 
was made. Plants were formed in order to nourish him, ani- 
mals, in order to serve as a habitation for fallen human souls. 
Woman herself is a degeneration of man, the first-born 
son of Earth. Man is the epitome of the macrocosm ; his 
soul is endowed witli reason and then incorporated in a 
body. Everything in this body is arranged according to a 
fixed plan and for a rational end. The head is the seat of 
reason and therefore round ; Ijecause this form is the most 
perfect of all and alone worthy of what is perfect. It is 
placed at the top of the body in order to direct the entire 
organism. The body has legs for locomotion, and arms 
with which to take hold of things. The breast is the scat 
of the noble passions ; it is placed beneath the head in order 
that these passions may be under the rule of reason, but 
separated from the head by the neck, so as not to be identi- 
fied with it. Finally, the coarser appetites reside in the 
abdomen and are separated from tlio noble passions by the 



diapliragm. In order to ^ subject them to the rule of reason 
and the nobler passions, nature placed in this region the 
liver, a smooth, bright organ, which resembles a mirror and 
is intended to reflect the images of thoughts. It is com- 
posed of bitter and sweet substances ; by means of the 
former it restrains the disordered cravings, and discharges 
the latter when our desires conform to reason ; at certain 
times it also acquires the power of divination. Finally, 
there is also a moral reason for the great length of the in- 
testine which is coiled around itself ; this hinders the food 
from passing through the body too quickly, and conse- 
quently keeps the soul from having a constant and immod- 
erate desire for food, a desire which would stifle in it the 
love of wisdom and the voice of conscience. In short, the 
human body is, according to Platonism, a house of correc- 
tion and education, constructed and organized with a view 
to the moral perfection of the soul. 

The human soul, like the soul of the world from which 
it emanates, contains immortal elements and mortal ele- 
ments ; or rather, it combines them ; it is the union of the 
two, or the proportion according to which these two kinds 
of elements (Idea and matter) are united in the individual. 
Intelligence or reason (to Xo^kttikov fjiepo^) is the immortal 
part ; sensuality (to iTnOvfjuriTLfcov), the mortal part, because 
it essentially depends on corporeal life; will, energy, or 
courage (to 6v/ioeL8e^), is the union of the two, and consti- 
tutes the soul proper and its individuality. The immor- 
tality of the intelligent soul follows : (1) from its simplicity, 
which renders all decomposition impossible ; (2) from the 

1 All these data are taken from the Timcens. We have reproduced 
them here and italicized these m order to's and for the purpose of's, 
simply to give the reader a classical sample of the theory of final 
causes in its application to nature. Though the theory contains a 
spark of truth, it has for centuries impeded the progress of the phy- 
sical sciences, by substituting the dreams of fancy for the observation 
of facts. 




goodness of the Creator ; (3) from the fact that it is the 
very principle of life, and a transition from being into non- 
being is impossible. The immortality of the intelligent 
soul is also proved by the philosopher's desire to be freed 
from the body and its fetters, and to come into direct com- 
munion with the intelligible world ; by the fact that life 
invariably and universally produces death, and death, a 
new life ; by the pre-existence of the soul, which is demon- 
strated by the doctrine of avd^vr)aL^ (if the soul has existed 
before the body, why should it not exist after its decom- 
position ?) ; by the relation existing between the soul and 
the Ideas (it conceives the intelligible, and must therefore 
be homogeneous with it and akin to it, that is, immortal, 
like its object) ; and finally, by the fact that it controls the 
body, which would be inconceivable if, as some Pythago- 
reans claim, it were but the resultant of the bodily func- 
tions. Immortality, however, is the prerogative of reason. 
The e7n6v/jLr)Tt/c6v cannot lay claim to it, and the will 
itself, in so far as it is bound to the organism, has no part 
in it.i 

In so far as the problem of the soul borders upon physics, 
it cannot be solved with absolute certainty. There is no 
science of passing things. The only certain science is the 
science of Ideas ; for Ideas alone are eternal and necessary. 
In the domain of physics we must content ourselves with 
probabilities ; science (iirKTrrj^r)^ being impossible here, we 
are reduced to faith (it Cans:) P' 

3. The Highest Good 

Man is the end of nature, and the Idea the end of man. 
As a consistent idealist, Plato, like Antisthenes and the 
Cynics, finds the highest good, not in pleasure, but in 
man's most perfect likeness to God. Now, since God is 

1 Phoido, 61-107. 2 TimcBus, 51, 52. 



the Good or absolute Justice, we can resemble him only in 
justice (Si/caLoavvT)). It is impossible, says Socrates-Plato,^ 
that evils should pass away (for there must always remain 
something which is antagonistic to good). Having no place 
among the gods in heaven (eV ^eot?), of necessity they 
hover around the mortal nature and this earthly sphere 
(rovBe Tov roirov irepiTroXel avdj/crjf;). Wherefore we 
ought to fly away from earth to heaven as quickly as we 
can (^XPV ivdevSe ifcelo-e (j>evyei,v otl Ta'^^^Lara), and to fly away 
is to become like God, as far as this is possible (^(l>vyr] Se 
o/jLOLoxTtf; TO) 6ea) /car a to Swarov). Now God is never in 
any way unrighteous ; he is perfect righteousness ; and he 
of us who is the most righteous is most like him.^ Justice 
is the fundamental virtue, the mother of the virtues belong- 
ing to each of the three souls. For the intelligence it con- 
sists in the correctness of thought {cro^ia^ (jaXoaoc^La) ; for 
the will, in courage (avSpiu) ; for the sensibility, in temper- 
ance {aax^poavvri) . Wisdom is the justice of the mind; 
courage, the justice of the heart; temperance, the justice 
of the senses. Piety (ocrtor?;?) is justice in our relation 
with the Deity; it is synonymous with justice in general. 

Man must be educated in order to attain justice and 
through it to become like God. He can never realize this 
virtue in isolation. Justice, or the final goal of things, is 
realized only in the collective man or in the State (TroXt?). 
Plato's ideal State, like the individual, embraces three parts 
or separate classes : (1) the philosophers, who constitute the 
legislative and executive power, the intelligence and the 
head of the State, or the ruling class; (2) the warriors, 
who are the heart of the State, or the militant class ; 
(3) the merchants, artisans, agriculturists, and slaves, or 
the servant class, who correspond to the sensual soul, 
which is restricted to the lower parts of the human 
body. Wisdom belongs to the ruling class ; courage to 
1 Thecetetus, 176. 2 Republic, X., 613. 



the military class; obedience to the two higher classes, 
who think and fight for them, belongs to the laboring, 
commercial, and serving classes. In order that the col- 
lective man or the State may form a real unity or an 
individual on the large scale, particular interests must be 
merged in the general interest, the family must be absorbed 
in the State, the individual must cease to be a proprietor. 
Henceforth the children belong to the State only, which 
forms one large family The State is the father of the 
children; the State also educates them. Up to the age of 
three, the education of the child consists solely in caring 
for the body. From three to six, its moral education is 
anticipated by the narration of myths. From seven to ten, 
gymnastics. From eleven to thirteen, reading and writing. 
From fourteen to sixteen, poetry and music. From sixteen 
to eighteen, mathematics. From eighteen to twenty, mili- 
tary exercises. When the twentieth year is reached, the 
State makes its first selection among the young people, 
choosing such as are fitted for the military career, and 
such as are qualified for the government. The latter make 
a thorough study of the different sciences until they are 
thirty years old. At the age of thirty, a second selection is 
made. The least distinguished enter upon the secondary 
positions of the administration; the others continue the 
study of dialectics for a number of years, and crown their 
education with ethics. After they have been introduced 
to the knowledge of the highest Good, they are capable of 
assuming the most exalted duties of the State. The latter 
is essentially a pedagogical institution, whose mission is to 
realize Goodness and Justice on our earth, and will not, 
therefore, tolerate art itself, except in so far as art is a 

^ This arrangement might seem strange to us, did we not remem- 
ber that the Greek State simply consisted of the city. Furthermore, 
the communistic teachings of the Republic are not repeated in the 



means of education, and is employed in the service of the 

These deductions, which are idealistic in the extreme, 
bring us back to the ontology of Plato. Reality, it must be 
remembered, does not, according to him, belong to sense- 
objects (or phenomena), but to the Ideas or types which 
these objects reproduce and which are perceived (conceived) 
by reason (the noumena). The phenomenon is real, only 
in so far as it partakes of the ideal type of which it is a 
copy. Now, the highest Idea, which is to the world of in- 
visible realities what the sun is to the phenomenal uni- 
verse, is the Good or absolute Goodness, the first and final 
cause of all being, and consequently superior and anterior 
to being itself, which it creates by natural radiation. 

This ontology may be defined as the monism of the good. 
It is, undoubtedly, the subliniest and purest product of 
philosophical genius. Others may have advanced beyond 
it ; no one has ever excelled it. Kant himself, who denies 
real existence to the phenomenon, making it conditional on 
sensibility and the intellect, and then proclaims practical 
reason as the judge of theory, and goodness as the judge 
of truth, is in reality but a reproduction of Plato minus the 
poetical element. Modern science is nominalistic ; never- 
theless it regards realism as relatively true. The real ob- 
ject of science is the general, the universal, or the typical 
law of the particular facts. Thus, when the anthropolo- 
gist occupies himself with Peter and Paul, his object is 
to know what man is ; and the physicist's interest in 
the apple that falls from the tree, or in the snow-flake 
that floats in the air, or in the sinking avalanche, is occa- 
sioned by the fact that these particular phenomena serve 
to exemplify his theory of weight. The modern scientist, 

1 Hence the theatre is not permitted in Plato's commonwealth ; 
for it sets before us a world in which good and evil are necessarily 
intermingled. — {Repub., III., 394-402.) 



like Plato, regards the phenomenon as changing, the law 
as stable and therefore more real than the particulars (to 
oVto)? 6v). The mistake does not lie in exalting the uni- 
versal over the particular ; it consists in separating the 
former from the latter metaphysically, and in making a 
transcendent entity of the genus or type ; it does not 
consist in exalting j^oO? over aiaOrjai^^ but in making 
two separate and even incompatible principles of vov^ and 
ai(jdr)(n^. In themselves, the type and the individual 
which realizes it, the law and the phenomenon which is 
its application, are but one and the same reality considered 
from different points of view ; observation and reasoning 
are merely two stages of one and the same method. A 
physic, a physiology, or an anatomy that is the creation of 
pure reason is inconceivable. The universal must be de- 
rived from the particular, because it cannot be found any- 
where else. Plato's failure to escape the illusion that the 
Idea is something separate, real, and transcendent, is in part 
due to the imperfect state of the philosophical terminology 
of his time. If, in place of e28o? (aspect, form, type), he had 
used the word w/^o?, or law, the term with which modern 
science has become so familiar, he would not easily have 
fallen into the error of the separatistie conception. But it 
is not merely the terminology that misleads him ; it is the 
poet in Plato that impels the philosopher to realize the 
Idea. Aristotle, in a spirit of controversy, and a fcAV sin- 
cere but unintelligent disciples of Plato, exaggerated the 
realism of the master, but the realism is there none the 
less,^ and its consequences are only too apparent. The 
Idea is real in itself, and does not need to be realized. 
Then the cosmic process loses its raison d'etre ; it no longer 
consists in the realization of an Idea ; it is the fall of a god. 
Creation would be the overflowing of the Idea, as it were, 
and the generation of being, that is, according to Plato, 
1 See especially Repuh., VI, 509. 



of spiritual being, thought, or intelligence ; for the being 
which comes from the Idea nmst resemble " it as the 
son resembles his mother. Being, in the real and absolute 
sense of the term, and heing-^imid (thought) are one and 
the same thing, from this point of view. This explanation 
of the world, which, to tell the truth, is but a figure of 
speech, would perhaps suffice, if the world were actually a 
society of pure spirits, the abode of goodness, justice, and 
perfection. But it is a mixture of being and non-being, of 
spirituality and corporeality, of good and evil. Whence 
comes this second constitutive element of the phenomenon, 
this non-being f From the Idea ? Impossible. The Idea 
can create nothing but being ^ intelligence, and goodness. 
Hence, a second principle that is co-eternal with the Idea 
has participated in the creation of the world ; the monism 
of the good becomes a dualism of Idea and matter. By 
coming in contact with the latter, the Idea, or rather in- 
telligence, its offspring, is polluted, diminished, and im- 
poverished. Hence, intelligence must consider matter as 
its natural enemy, as the chief cause of its diminution, as 
the seat and the principle of evil ; the mind will, of course, 
desire to be freed, as soon as possible, from the body which 
holds it in bondage, and from the visible world, which is a 
prison, a place of correction. The Utopian system of poli- 
tics, which sacrifices nature to an abstract principle, asceti- 
cism, monachism, the horror of matter which we find among 
the Neo-Platonists, the Gnostics, and even Catholics, all 
these elements are the logical consequences of a conception 
that makes the Idea a reality. 

Speusippus, the successor of Plato in the Academy (347- 
339), seems to see the need of combining the One (the Idea) 
and the many (matter) by means of a concrete principle 
that contains them both. He lays great weight on the 
Pythagorean notion of emanation, development, and series, 
which forms the very essence of Neo-Platonism, and teaches, 



in opposition to Plato, that j)erf ection is to be found, not in 
the original and abstract unity, but in the developed, differ- 
entiated, and organized unity.^ But his reverence for the 
name of Plato, and the position which he held as the 
scholarch of the school hindered him from subjecting the 
master's view to an impartial criticism.^ The same is 
true of Xenocrates, Polemo, Grantor, and Crates, who 
were succeeded by the sceptic Arcesilaus.^ It was left 
to Aristotle, the most distinguished among the pupils 
of Plato and the founder of a new school, to criticise 
and reform Academic idealism from the standpoint of 
concrete spiritualism. 

§ 17. Aristotle 

Aristotle,^ was born at Stagira, not far from Mount 
Athos, in 385. His father, Nicomachus, the physician 

^ Aristotle, Met., XII, 7 •■ To koKKkttov kcll to apicrrov [xt) iu ap-^Qj elvai. 
Cf. § 65. 

2 Cicero, Acad, post., I, 9, 34. 

3 See § 21. [For the Platonic school, see Diog. L., lY, eh. 1-5; 
MiiUach, vol. Ill, pp. 51 ff . ; Eitter and Preller, pp. 283 ff. For 
further references, see Ueberweg-Heinze, I, § 44. — Tr.]. 

^ Aristotle's Complete Works ; the Berlin edition in 5 vols. : vols. 
I. and II., the Greek text (rec. Imm. Bekker, 1831) ; vol. III., a Latin 
translation (1831); vol. IV., the principal commentaries (coU. by 
Chr. Aug. Brandis, 1836) ; vol. V., fragments and commentaries (coll. 
by V.'Rose), Liclex Aristotelicus ed. H. Bonitz, 1870 ; the Didot edition, 
5 vols., Paris, 1848-70 ; Tauchnitz edition, 1831-32, 1843 ; [Aristotle's 
Psychology, in Greek and English, with introduction and notes, E. 
Wallace, Cambridge, 1882 ; Nicomachean Ethics, transl., with an anal- 
ysis and critical notes, by J. E. C. Welldon, New York and London, 
1892 ; transl. also by Williams, ibid., 1876, Chase, ibid., 1877, Hatch, 
ibid., 1879, Peters, ibid., 1881, Gillies (Sir John Lubbock's Hundred 
Books), ibid., 1892 ; Politics, transl. by Welldon, Cambridge, 1888, 
Jowett, 2 vols., Oxford, 1885-88, Ellis, with an introduction by H. 
Morley (Sir John Lubbock's Hundred Books), London, 1892 ; On the 
Constitution of Athens, transl. and annotated by F. G. Kenyon, Lon- 



of King Amyntas of Macedon, came from a family of 
physicians. The blood of experimentalists and positive 
scientists floAved in his veins. In the year 367, he 
entered upon his course of study (as we should say now« 
adays) at Athens, where he became first a pupil and then 
the successful rival of the veteran Plato. From 343 to 
340, he was the teacher of Alexander, the son of Philip. 
The friendship between him and Alexander proved advan- 
tageous to Aristotle, for it enabled him to accumulate vast 
collections, and contributed largely toward making him the 
father of natural science. In 334 he began to teach his 
philosophy in the walks of the Lyceum at Athens ; hence 
the name applied to his school, and the epithet given to his 
disciples, — Peripatetics. After the death of Alexander, he 
was accused of Macedonianism and atheism, and compelled 
to retire to Chalchis, in the island of Euboea, where he 
died in 322. 

don, 1891 ; Poetics, transl. by Wharton, Cambridge, 1883 ; Rhetoric, 
transl. by Welldon, London and New York, 1886; translations of 
the above and of the Metaphysics, Organon, and History of Animals in 
tlie Bohn Library; editions of the Politics, with introduction by 
Newman, 2 vols., Oxford, 1887, of the Ethics, by A. Grant, 2 vols., 
4th ed., London, 1884, and By water, Oxford, 1894; German transla- 
tions of Aristotle in Metzler's collection, Hoffmann's Uehersefzwif/s- 
hibliothek, Engelniann's collection, and in Kirchmann's Philosophical 
Library. — Tr.]. The Metaphysics has been translated into French 
by Pierron and Zdvort^ 2 vols., Paris, 1840 ; the Politics, Logic, Ethics, 
Poetics, and Meteorology, by Barth(^lemy Saint-Hilaire, Paris, 1837-62. 
[For the philosophy of Aristotle, see Biese, Die Philosophie des Aris- 
toteles, 2 vols., Berlin, 1835-42; A. Rosmini-Serbati, Aristotele esposto 
ed esaminato, Turin, 1858 ; Bonitz, Aristotelische Studien, I.-Y., Vienna, 
1862-66; Lewes, Aristotle, London, 1864; Grote, Aristotle, ed. by A. 
Bain and G. C. Kobertson, 2 vols, (incomplete), London, 1872, 3d ed., 
1884; E. AVallace, Outlines of the Philosophy of Aristotle, Oxford, 1875, 
3d ed., 1883; A. Grant, Aristotle (in Ancient Classics for English 
Readers), Edinburgh and London, 1878; Davidson, Aristotle and An- 
cient Educational Ideals, New York, 1892 ; Kappes, Aristoteles-LexikoUf 
Paderborn, 1894. — Tk.] 



The writings attributed to Aristotle deal with almost all 
the sciences known to antiquity, that is, according to the 
philosopher's own classification,^ with the theoretical sci- 
ences, which have truth for their object (mathematics, 
physics, and theology, or the first philosophy), with the 
practical sciences, which treat of the useful (ethics, politics, 
etc.), and with the ^we^ica/ sciences, whose object is the 
beautiful. The Categories, the Be intevpretatioiie, the two 
Analytics, the Topics, etc., which have been collected under 
the name Organon, make Aristotle tlie real founder of logic. 
True, he was not the first to conceive all the principles 
of logic ; the discussions of the Eleatics, the Sophists, and 
the Socratics, have shown us how reason gradually be- 
came conscious of the processes which it originally em- 
ployed instinctively ; thus the elementary axioms, such 
as the principle of contradiction, the principle of sufhcient 
reason, the principium e.iclicsi teriii, the dictuin de omni et 
mcllo, and without doubt also the more special rules of the 
syllogism came to be formulated. But it required the 
genius of an Aristotle to co-ordinate these elements, to 
complete them, and to formulate them into the system of 
deductive logic, which constitutes his chief claim to fame.^ 
The physical and natural sciences are ably set forth in the 
Physics, the I)e cwlo, the Be generatione et corruptione, the 
Meteorology, the Be anima, the Parva naturalia, the His- 
tory of Animals, the treatises On the Parts of Animals, 
On the Progression of A7iimMs, On the Generation of 
Animals, etc. The problems of philosophy proper are 
discussed in a number of writings on first principles, 
which a SLaaKevaarrj^; collected into a single work com- 

1 Metaphysics, VI., 1, 9. 

^ For Aristotle's logic, see Trendelenburg, Elementa logices Aristote- 
lece, Berlin, 1836 ; 8th cd., 1878. [Edauterungeti, 3d ed., Berlin, 1876 ; 
Prantl, Geschichte der Logik, vol. I. ; Eucken, Die Methode der aristote- 
lischen Forschung, Berlin, 1872. — Tr.] 



prising fourteen books, and placed after the writings on 
physics (^fxera ra (pucn/cd) : hence the name metaphysics^ 
which has since been applied to philosophy proper, a term 
with which Aristotle himself was not acquainted. Ethics 
and politics are treated in the Nicomachean Ethics^ in the 
3I(cgna moralia^ in the Eudemcan Ethics^ in the eight books 
of the Politics. Rhetoric and poetry are discussed in the 
books known by those titles. Taken altogether, the 
works of Aristotle constitute a veritable encyclopedia 
of the knowledge possessed by the fourth century before 

Philosophy is defined by Aristotle as the science of uni- 
versals (77 KaOoXov eTnarrifjLri). Every real science is, or at 
least aims to be, a view of the whole, a general theory ; 
hence the special sciences are partial philosophies (</)tXo- 
(TO(f)LaL), as well as general theories concerning one or more 
groups of given facts, theories which are summarized and 
systematized by general philosophy. Conversely, philo- 
sophy proper or the first science (irpcoTT] (^CXocro^La) is a 
separate science ; it is co-ordinated with other sciences 
(second philosophy), and has a distinct subject-matter of 
its own : being as such, the absolute or God. But it is 
at the same time the universal science embracing all the 
specialties, because its object, God, embraces and contains 
the principles of all the sciences and the first causes of 

1 For the lost works, see E. Heitz, Die verlorenen Schriffen des Ari- 
stoteles, Leipsic, 1865, and Fragmenta Aristotelis, collegit ^m. Heitz, 
Paris, 1869. One, whose loss was much to be deplored, the treatise 
On tJie Constitution of AiJienSy has recently been found (January, 1891) 
on a papyrus in the British Museum. Some of the extant works are 
mutilated and form a confused mixture of genuine texts and spurious 
commentaries. Some, like the Categories, the De interpretatione, the 
treatise De Melisso, Xenophane et Gorgia, the Eudemean Ethics, etc., 
are doubtful. Others, at last, like the De motu animalium, the (fyvaio- 
yvayfiiKa, the (Economics, the Rhetoric to Alexander, etc., are certainly 




everything that exists (97 tmv TrpcoTcov ap)(^6t)P kol ahtoiv 

There was no doubt in Aristotle's mind as to the pos- 
sibility of science, which had been denied by the Sophists 
and the Sceptics. Man is the only being who partakes of 
the active intellect, that is, of God himself, and through 
him of the knowledge of the absolute ; man alone is en- 
dowed with speech. By means of language, we designate 
(KaTrjjopov/JLev) things as we conceive them ; by reason, 
we conceive them as they are. The general ways of 
designating things, or the parts of discourse (the categories 
of language and of grammar), correspond to the different 
forms according to which we conceive them, or to the cate- 
gories of the understanding (substance, quantity, quality, 
relation, place, time, position, mode of being, activity, pas- 
sivity), and these categories of the understanding in their 
turn signify the modes of being of the things themselves 
(KaTrjyopLaL tov oVto?) ; that is, the things are in reality 
either substances or quantities or relations, etc., and are 
not merely conceived as such.^ 

1. FiKST Philosophy 3 

The mathematical and physical sciences treat of the 
quantity, quality, and relations of things ; the first philo- 

1 Met. I., 2, U. Cf. L, 8; L, 10. 

2 Met. v., 7; VL, 4. 

^ For the Metaphysics^ consult [Schwegler, Die Metaphysik des Ari- 
stoteles (text, translation, and commentary), 4 vols., Leipsic, 1847-49] ; 
H. Bonitz, I71 Arisiotelis Metaphysica, 2 vols., Berlin, 1848-49; C. L. 
Michelet, Examen critique de V ouvraye d'' Aristote intitule Metaphysique^ 
Paris, 1836 ; Vacherot, Theorie des premiers principes suivant Aristoie^ 
Paris, 1837 ; Felix Ravaisson, Essai sur la metaphysique d'Arislote, Paris, 
1837 ; Jacques, Aristote considere comme historien de la philosophie, Paris, 
1837 ; Jules Simon, Etudes sur la tlicodicee de Platon et d' Aristote, Pa- 
ris, 1840 ; [Glaser, Die Metaphysik des Aristoteles^ Berlin, 1841 ; Bar- 
thelemy Saint-IIilaire, De la metaphysique, etc., Paris, 1879 ; Bullinger, 
Aristoteles' Metaphysik, Munich, 1892. — Tr.]. 



sophy has as its object the queen of the categories, the 
category of substance {ovaCa)^ to which all the rest are re- 
lated and on which they are based. It inquires into the 
nature of being as such, regardless of all relations of time, 
place, etc. (to tC rjv elvai)^ that is, absolute and necessary 
being, the eternal essence of things as opposed to the rela- 
tive, contingent, and accidental.^ 

Hence Plato is right in regarding it as the science of 
real being (to oVtw? 6v)y as distinguished from that which 
appears to he, and is in reality but a passing relation. He 
errs in conceiving the Ideas as real beings existing apart 
from the individuals which express them (ISeat )(^copLaTaL). 
In vain do we search in Plato's writings for the proof 
that Ideas subsist apart from things. Moreover, it is 
hard to see what this theory accomplishes. It does not 
solve the metaphysical problem, but merely complicates it 
by adding to the real world a world of useless homonyms. 
The separate Ideas do not, in fact, contribute either towards 
the production, or the preservation, or the science of things 
(et? yvMaLv). We are at a loss to know what is the rela- 
tion between things and Ideas {rpoiro'^ /caO^ Sv rdWa iic 
rcov eiB(ov iariv). The assertion that the Ideas are pat- 
terns and that the things participate in them is to speak 
vain words, and to utter poetic metaphors (to Xeryeiv 
TrapaBeLyfjLara elvat Kal fierexeLV uvtmv raXXa KevoXoyetv 
earl Kal /jLeTa(fiopa<; Xeyeiv Trotr^Tt/ca?). Besides, if the gen- 
eral Idea is the substance of the particulars or the essence 
of the things, how can it exist apart from that of which it 
is the substance and the essence (%ft)/3t9 rrjv ovcriav Kal ov rj 
ovaia)? The general cannot exist outside of and along- 
side of the particular (to KaOoXov fir) ean tl irapa ra Kad* 
cKaara). Hence the Ideas or specific types, considered as 
such and apart from the things, are not real beings or sub- 
stances (oucriat), if we understand by ovaia that which exists 
1 Met. VI., 1 ; XI., 4, 7. 



by itself.^ Aristotle does not, however, deny the objective 
existence of species. For him as well as for Plato, the 
general Idea is the essence of the particular, and may 
be called oucria, in so far as this word signifies essence. 
What he denies is that Ideas exist aj^art from things 
(;^a)/3i9). The Idea is inherent or immanent in the thing ; 
it is its /orm, and cannot be separated from it except by 
abstraction. It is the essence of the particular and with 
it constitutes an indivisible whole. For the ev irapa ra 
iroXkd we must substitute the ev kutu tmv ttoWcjv or 

On the other hand, the materialistic theory is equally 
untenable. ( Matter has no reality apart from the form 
(eZSo9, /jiopcjyr)^ that is, not only the shape, length, breadth, 
and height of the thing, but all of its properties). Matter 
without the Idea is as much of an abstraction as the Idea 
apart from the particular object which realizes it. Nor does 
movement exist by itself ; it presupposes a substratum. 
Hence, neither the Idea nor matter nor movement has real 
or substantial existence ; reality consists of all these taken 
as a whole (avvoXov), or of the particular (toBc rt). Reality 
is a concrete thing (/jllktop) ; it contains constitutive ele- 
ments, which thought distinguishes, but which do not exist 
apart from each other. The most important (Kvptoyrepov) of 
these elements is the Idea or the form, Avhich Aristotle con- 
ceives as identical with essence or soul. Matter is merely 
its support, but it is an indispensable support. 

The next question is. What are the generative causes of 
real being ? All things which are produced either by nature 
or art have a material cause {vkr), viroKelfxevov), a formal 
cause (to eZSo?, to ti eari, to tl rjv elmt), an efficient or 
moving cause (cipxv t?}? yeveaeco^, ^PXV '^V'* fcivrjo-em, to odev 
7) KLV7]aL(;, TO 66ev rf ap^^rj tt)? KLVijaeco^;, to aiTLOV t?}? /xeTa- 

1 Met., I., 9, 15, 16; V., 8, 14; XIL, 10, 22; XIV., 3, 12, 4, 9. 

2 Met, III., 4, 1 ; Analyt. post., I., 11. 




/3oX?}9, TO KLvovVy TO KcvTjTLKov), and a final cause (to ov eveKa, 
TO TeXo9, rayaOov).^ Thus, to take an example from art. A 
bed or a statue presupposes (1) matter : the wood or the 
marble or the brass of which tlie thing is made ; (2) an 
Idea (a plan or a pattern) according to wliich it is made ; 
the idea of the statue exists in the mind of the sculptor, 
the idea of the bed, in the mind of the joiner ; (3) arms, 
hands, and tools, as motive forces and efhcient causes, 
(4) a purpose or motive that sets these forces in action, 
and effects the transition from capacity or potentiality 
(SvvafjLL<;) to actuality (ivepyeia). The same is true of 
nature and particularly of organic nature. A living 
organism, as, for example, a man, is the product of the 
following four causes : (1) the substance which forms the 
starting-j^oint and substratum of the embryonic develop- 
ment ; (2) the Idea or specific ty^^e according to which the 
embryo is developed, the form which it tends to assume ; 
(3) the act of generation ; (4) the (unconscious) purpose of 
this act, namely, the production of a new man. There are, 
then, for every fact and for the universal fact itself (the 
world), four kinds of causes : matter. Idea, force, and the 
final purpose. Through the cooperation of these four prin- 
ciples, the real being, be it an object of art or a living 
being, is produced. These principles, moreover, do not 
subsist as substances; they always inhere in a particular 
thing : every natural product is j)receded by an individual 
of the same species, from which it is generated. Similarly, 
every phenomenon in art and ethics presupposes an actual 
cause. Each man is educated by another educated man ; 
the efficient cause is always a concrete being, and that 
which exists potentially becomes actual, only through the 
instrumentality of some actual thing. 

Though philosophical reflection distinguishes four gener- 
ative principles of things, three of them, the Idea, the 

1 Met. I., 3. Cf. VIL, 7, ff. 



motive cause, and the final cause, are yer^ pftgi 
and constitute but a single principle {ep^eraL Be ra rpCa eH 
TO €v 7roXXdfa<;). Thus, in art, the Idea of Hermes in the 
imagination of the sculptor, moves lus^rves and muscles, 
and at the same time constitutes the end which he aims 
to realize by means of matter. Take an illustration from 
nature. A man is to be produced. Man is the Idea which 
is realized by generation ; a man realizes it, and he realizes 
it in order to reproduce man (to fiev yap rC iart Kal to ov 
eveKa ev iaTL, to 66 ev 97 Kivr)at<; T(p etSet TavTO rourot?^). 
In both cases the Idea is the formal cause, the motive 
cu.use, and the final cause. 

O'here are then, ultimately, only two principles of things, 
— -the Idea or for^m which causes them and at which they 
aim, and the ma tter of which they are made : elSo? and 
vXrf. The former is essential and the cause proper; the 
latter is of secondary importance and a mere condition 
(crvvaiTLov). Since these two principles are the necessary 
antecedents of all becoming, they cannot have been pro- 
duced themselves ; for in that case they would have had to 
exist even prior to being, which is impossible. They neces- 
sarily precede all generation, since generation is possible 
only through them. 2. , Both Aristotle and Plato regard mat- 
ter and form as eternal j,. only, the Stagirite does not con- 
ceive the eternity of matter to mean absolute dualism. If 
matter and Idea are diametrically opposed to each other, as 
they seem to be in Plato, how can they ever be united, how 
can they co-operate and produce all things ? Things that 
are diametrically opposed cannot be united (airaOri yap to, 
evavTia utt' aXkrjXcDv^). 

Plato's fxr) 6V, that is to say, non-being or absolute priva- 
tion (o-TeprjaL^)^ and real matter are two entirely different 
things. Matter is accidental non-being (/cara avfi^e^ijKo^), 
whereas privation is non-being as such. The conception of 

1 Phys., IL, 7. 2 Id.y L, 10, 8. « Met, XII., 10, 7. 



matter is one that is closely akin to the notion of sub- 
stance ; in certain respects matter is substance itself, while 
privation is nothing of the kind.^ It is not the fxr) 6v or 
non-being, but the /x?) ttw 6v or potential being (Bwdfiei 6V), 
the possibility or capacity of being, the germ and the be- 
ginning of becoming. Concrete being, or the particular, 
represents the development of this germ, the realization of 
this possibility, the potential actualized (evepjeLo). Matter 
is the germ of the form, the potential form ; the form, in turn, 
or rather the union of form and matter, which constitutes 
the particular thing, is matter in actuality.^ Thus, in the 
technical field, wood, the matter of which the table is made, 
is a potential table ; the finished table is the same wood in 
energy. Brass is a potential statue ; the statue is the 
actualization of the brass. In nature, the egg is a bird in 
capacity ; the bird is its ivepyeta. Matter is the beginning 
of all things ; the Idea (shape or form) is the goal for 
which it strives ; matter is the rudimentary or imperfect 
state ; the form is the perfection or completion (eVreXej^eta). 
If vXrj were synonymous with crreprjai^^j matter could not 
-become anything, it could not be united with a form or 
assume those definite outlines which define the real being ; 
for from nothing nothing can come. Instead of struggling 
against the form, it strives after it, it desires it (opeyeraL 
as the female desires the male.^ Matter and Idea or form 
are, therefore, correlative notions ; instead of excluding 
each other, they presuppose and supplement each other ; 
motion or evolution {KLvqai^^ fjieTafioXr}) is the term which 

mediates between them ; motion is the transition or trans- 

.-.-v . . - 

1 Phys., X., 10, 4. 

2 Met., Mill., 6, 19. 

8 It is identical with Leibniz's conception of effort (§ 56), and 
Schopenhauer's will or will to he (§ 64). Aristotle himself uses the 
expression /SovXea^ai, in speaking of nature {Polit., L, 2, 9, 14). 

4 Phya., L, 10, 7. 




formation of the former into the latter. Hence the impor- 
tance ascribed by Aristotle to the idea of movement ; ^it 
enables him, in a certain measure, to escape the dualism of 
Plato, which the latter himself had attempted to avoid by- 
means of the conception of number or '^^rv'xr]' His entire 
system is founded on the trinity of BvvafxL^, kIvt^ctl^^ and 
ivepr^eia? ylfli matter is to form what capacity is to energy, 
the germ to the finished organism, then the opposition 
between the two principles is^ar from absolute, and all 
things are both potentiality and actuality, matter and form^ 
Brass is form or energy in relation to the raw mineral, 
matter or potentiality in relation to the statue. The tree 
of which a bed is made is form, shape, or actuality in rela- 
tion to the seed from which it grew, formless matter in 
relation to the bed. The youth is form (ivepyeia eVrt) in 
relation to the infant, formless matter in relation to the 
grown man. 

The rule that every being is both form and substratum, 
idea and matter, soul and body, admits of but a single ex- 
ception : the Supreme Being is pure form and without mat- 
ter. According to Aristotle, matter invariably forms the 
starting-point for a process of development ; it is the ante- 
cedent of a higher perfection. Now the Supreme Being is 
absolute perfection ; hence be contains no matter for a more 
exalted being; in short, he is immaterial.-.^ Aristotle here 
seems to contradict the nominalistic theory, on which his 
polemic against the separate Ideas of Plato is based, and, 
above all, refutes his own statement that everything is 
material (airavra vXrj iari^). ^ But this difficulty partly 

1 Id., IIL, 1 ff. 

2 ^^ef., XTI., 5, 6 ; 10, 21. Cf. XII., 2, 10 : Tpla ^ o'lno koI rpels 
al dpx^^^ ^- The difference in the names (aTcprjcris^ vXrj, fiop(f>r)) 
i.s not fundamental ; for Aristotle has in mind, on tlie one hand, the 
three phases of being (ftrat), on the other, the three constitutive prin- 
ciples of existence (6V). 

« Met., XII., 3, 8. 



disappears when we take into consideration his definition 
of the word matter. He means by it matter that has not 
yet been formed, the ^provisional as opposed to the final ; it 
denotes imperfection, capacity, undeveloped germ. If this 
is what is meant by matter, then, evidently, every being in 
the universal scale of beings is idea or perfection, as com- 
pared to the lower stages, and matter or imperfection, as 
compared to higher beings ; and the Supreme Being — but 
the Supreme Being only — is pure idea, pure form, or pure 
actuality. ^ Aristotle also declares that the last matter (mat- 
ter in the final stage of development) and the form are the 
same (97 efr^^ar?; vXt] koL 97 /jLop(f)7) ravro ^).\.}rleiice we may 
conclude that he would not, perhaps, haVe objected to call- 
ing the Supreme Being iaxdrr] vXij or the final stage of 
the universal evolution, though he would have denied that 
this higher phase of existence is in part material. \But 
he does not accept the pantheistic conception of an abso- 
lute that develops, and is matter before being form, poten- 
tiality before being energy .^s If the Supreme Being had first 
existed in germ and as potentiality, then it would have 
been necessary for an actual being to exist antecedent 
to God in order to energize this germ and to make God 
actual ; for not only does all seed come from a pre-existent 
actual being, but no capacity ever becomes actual without 
the cooperation of an actual being. Not capacity but 
energy, not the potential but the actual, not the imper- 
fect but the perfect, is the first principle anterior and 
superior to everything else.^ This favorite conception of 
Aristotle really agrees with the Eleatic doctrine : ex nihilo 
nihil ; its logical consequence is the negation of the chaos 
as the original form of existence, if we may apply the term 
" form " to the formless as such, or to the complete absence 

1 M, YIIL, 6, 19. Cf. VII., 10, 27 ; XII., 3, 8 ; 10, 8. 

2 M, XII., 7, 19-20. Cf. Phys , II.. 9, 6. 
8 Ibid. 




of all order. Since form or absolute energy and matter 
are both eternal, it follows that matter has never been 
without form, and that there never was a state of chaos.^ 

The eternal actual Being is botli the motive or general 
ing cause, the form, and the fnial goal of things. (^^'"'^''^ 

It is the first mover and itself immovable (irpcoTov klvovv 
ov KLvov^evov). The existence of this first mover is the 
necessary consequence of the principle of causality. Every 
movement implies, in addition to the thing moved, a moving 
principle, which, again, receives its motion from a higher 
motive force. Now, since there can be no infinite series of 
causes, we are oljliged to stop at a first mover. To deny 
this and at the same time to assume the reality of motion, 
to assume with Leucippus, Democritus, and others, an in- 
finite series of effects and causes without a first cause, is 
to violate one of the most fundamental laws of thought. 
Moreover, the first cause acts forever, and the ensuing 
motion is likewise eternal. The universe has neither a 
beginning nor an end in time, although it has its limits 
in space. 

Here a difficulty {airopia) arises : How can that which 
is immovable and remains so, move ? How can the mo- 
tive cause act without setting itself in motion ? It must 
be assumed that God acts as the beautiful and the desirable 
act. Thus, a master-piece of art or nature moves and 
t attracts us, and yet remains completely at rest itself. 
iSimilarly, the ideal which I strive to realize, or the goal 
^at which I aim, sets me in motion without moving itself. 
So, too, matter is moved by the eternal Idea (to tl rjv elvat 
TO iTpMTov) without tlie slightest movement on the part of 
the absolute being. It has a desire for God (opeyerai), but 
God is the first cause of this desire.^ 

Inasmuch as the Supreme Being is immaterial, it can 
have no impressions, nor sensations, nor appetites, nor a will 
1 Met.. Xll., G, 15. 2 7^.^ XTL, 7, 3. 



in the sense of desire, nor feelings in the sense of passions ; 
all these things depend on matter, the passive or female 
principle, the recipient of the form. God is pure intelli- 
gence. The human understanding (vov^; 7ra6rjTLK6<;) passes 
from a potential state through the stages of sensation, per- 
ception, and comparison. The divine vov^ has an imme- 
diate intuitive knowledge of the intelligible essence of 
things. Our discursive thought pursues an object which 
is different from it and which cannot be attained except by 
gradual stages, wliile the absolute thought is identical with 
its object. Since nothing is higher than God, and since the 
thought of God has the liighest possible object, God is the 
object of his own thought (vorjaem v6r]cn^). God's life is 
free from all pain and imperfection, and therefore beyond 
desire and regret {airaOrj^) ; it is supremely happy ; hu- 
man life with its emotions is but a feeble image of it. 
God enjoys what but few favored mortals enjoy, and then 
only for a limited period of time ; his life consists in the 
pure contemplation of the intelligible truth, in Oecopia 
{Biaycoyr) 8' icrrlv oia t) aplcTTri fiLKpov ')(^p6vov rjjjLLV 

As the final cause of the universe and the highest good 
(to ayaOov koX to apLcrrov), God is both in the things or 
their immanent essence (raft?) and ahove the things, apart 
from the world, or transcendent (fcex^optafievov tl koI avrb 
KaO^ aifTo). Discipline exists both in an army and outside 
of it in the mind of the general. Similarly, God is both 
the law and the law-giver, the order and the orderer of 
things .2 Everything is organized, ordered, and harmonized 
by him and with a view to him ; and since he is one (mat- 
ter alone is manifold ^), there can be but one single, eternal 
universe. 4£onversely, the unity which prevails in the 
world proves the unity of God^Ou/c ayaOov iroXv/coLpavLrj' 
€49 Kolpavo^ eVrct).* 

1 Met, XII, 7, 11. 2 /^.^ XII., 10, 1, 2. ^ 7^?., VIII., 6, 21. 
* Id.y XII., 10, 23 (quotation from Homer). 



On this principle of principles depend the heavens and 

2. Second Philosophy, oh the Philosophy of Natuee 

According to Aristotle, the sky is the perfect sphere of 
which the earth is supposed to be the centre ; nature is 
everything within this sphere that is subject to motion or 
to rest ; or, more abstractly, it is motion itself, in so far as 
the latter emanates from the first mover and is continued 
by the secondary causes. Physics is a theory of motion.^ 
It inquires into the immovable principle (the divine), the 
imperishable moving power (the heaven), and the perish- 
able world or sublunary nature.^ There are as many kinds 
of movement as there are categories of being.'* The prin- 
cipal ones are : (1) movement that affects the substance, or 
origin and decay (jcveaL^ kol ^Oopd) ; (2) movement that 
affects the quality, or change of quality, alteration (/cLvyaL<i 
KciT aWoLoyatv^ /.lera/SoX/]) ; (3) movement that affects the 
quantity, or addition and subtraction {KLvr)cn<^ /car av^rjo-Lv 
/cat (pOiaiv) ; (4) local movement, or change of place {(f)opd^ 
KLvrjai^ Kara rov tottop ^). The first (origin and decay), how- 
ever, is not, strictly speaking, a movement, while, of the 
other three, change of place is regarded by all the phj^si- 
cists, and especially by Anaxagoras, as the most important, 
the most universal, and the most original form of motion.*^ 
Motion, change, energy, or ciUekchij^ is the realization of 
the potential as such.'^ But it is not a substance (ovaLa\ 
and does not exist apart from the things which it affects 
(irapa ra Trpdy/jLara). 

^ Met., XII., 7, 11 : 'E^f Totavrrji apa dpX'l^ ^'pTrjTai 6 oiipavbi /cat rj 

2 Phf/s., III., 1, 1. 8 Id., II., 7. Id., IIL, 1, 2. 

5 Id., III., 1, 7. « Id., VIII., 10. 

Id., IIL, 1, 7: *H Tuv duviifjiCL outos eVTfXe;^€ta. 



Space (%co/3a, totto?) is more like a substance. It is, 
however, neither the material of which bovlies are made, 
as Plato erroneously supposes in the Timceus,^ nor their 
form, nor the interval which sejjarates them {dtdarrjiJLa), 
but the limit between the surrounding and the surrounded 
body,2 between the contents and the container. This sin- 
gular definition is intended by Aristotle as a disavowal of 
the conception that there is such a tiling as empty space 
separating bodies from each other (the Kevov of Democritus), 
a view wliich he regarded as erroneous. Movement, ac- 
cording to him, does not imply the existence of the void ; 
it is invariably a change of place of different bodies. The 
condensation of a body presupposes the rarefaction of the 
surrounding body, and vice vc7'sa. Consequently, there is 
no void either in the bodies or outside of them.^ Since 
space cannot be conceived without movement, the im- 
movable (the divine) is not in space. Moreover, inasmuch 
as space is the boundary between the container and the 
contained, and since the universal is not contained in any- 
thing, but contains everything, tlie universe or the All 
cannot occupy a particular place. Hence the universe, 
or the whole of things, does not, strictly speaking, move. 
Its parts alone suffer a change of place. Taken as a 
whole, however, it can only revolve upon itself. Indeed, 
certain portions of the heavens move, not upwards and 
downwards, but in a circle, and only the denser or lighter 
substances are carried downwards and upwards.* 

Like space, time exists only as the condition of motion ; 
it is the measure or number of motion. It is potentiidly 
infinite like motion (whatever Plato may say of it), and 
this distinguishes it from space which is limited. It is 
nonsense to speak of an actually infinite space. Infinity 

1 Phjs., IV., 1. 

^ Id.f IV., 6 : To Trepas tov Ti€pU-)(ovTos crcofiaTos. 
3 Id., IV., 8. 4 7^.^ lY.^ 7^ 5. 



is merely potential and never actual ; for the actual has 
form ; it is determined or finite ; the j)otential is not finite, 
but infinite. Conversely, infinity has potential existence 
only in the infinite multiplication of numbers and the in- 
finite divisibility of magnitudes. Now, time is the measure 
of motion and consequently a number, and number pre- 
supposes a person who can count. Hence it follows that 
time presupposes a soul and cannot exist except for a 
numbering soul.^ 

We distinguished between several kinds of movement, 
the most important of which is called change of place. 
The latter, again, has different forms. The first and the 
most perfect of these is movement in a circle, which is 
the only motion that can be endless, simple, and uniform. 
Rectilinear motion cannot be constant, and is therefore 
less perfect than the other. It cannot be continued ad 
infinitum^ because Aristotle's universe is limited ; hence, 
in order to continue, it must return upon itself or become 
oscillatory ; and there is bound to be a stop, however mini- 
mal it may be, at the point where the movement begins 
again to go in the opposite direction. 

Circular movement and rectilinear movement upward 
and downward are the two great forms of klv7}<tl'; in the 
physical world. The former, which is the most perfect, 
because it is simple and continuous, belongs to the highest 
heavens (Trpwro^ ovpav6^\ the solid vault which supports 
the fixed stars ; ^ the latter, which is less perfect because 

1 Phys., IV., 20, 4. 

2 The modern theory of heavenly bodies moving in space, a view 
which prevailed among the lonians and the Pythagoreans, seems to 
be wholly foreign to Aristotle. When he speaks of the heaven and 
its motion, he does not mean, by metonymy, the motion of the stars 
enclosed in this space ; his idea is that the heaven itself, that is, the 
entire series of concentric spheres, which consist of the same sub- 
stance as their stars, moves. lie also likens the motion of the stars to 
the movement of a person seated in a chariot; the person is immov- 
able and yet advances as the chariot advances. 



it is not absolutely continuous, moves the lower or central 
parts of the universe. The eternal revolution of the outer- 
most heavens around the axis of the world is immediately 
caused by the immovable first mover, who moves the other 
parts of the world only indirectly and by means of the 
7r/jcoT09 ovpavo^. Hence, the sphere of the fixed stars is 
in the irpcorov kivovv Kivovfievov^ the first moved mover, and 
communicates its motion to the lower or planetary spheres 
{hevrepo^ ovpavo^). These solid but transparent spheres, of 
which there are about fifty, revolve around a common cen- 
tre, the centre of the earth, which is also the centre of the 
world. But their movement is no longer a simple move- 
ment; they rotate from left to right, like the outermost 
heaven, but they also move from right to left. This com- 
plicated movement can only be explained on the assump- 
tion that each sphere has, in addition to the first moved 
mover, a particular, relatively-independent mover. Finally, 
the central sphere, that is, the earth and its inhabitants, its 
ocean, and its two atmospheres, is placed under the direct 
guidance of the planets and under the indirect influence of 
the fixed stars. It does not revolve around its own axis, 
but executes complex movements, the fundamental form 
of which is upward and downward movement. 

Things that move downwards from the universal circum- 
ference to the universal centre are called heavy; things 
that move upwards from the earth towards the sky are 
called light. The opposition between heavy and light is 
the same as that between cold and warm ; for experience 
shows that cold air falls and warm air rises. On this 
double opposition depends the differentiation of elements. 
Heavy and cold matter forms the earthy or solid element ; 
light and warm matter produces fire. Water and air, that 
is, moisture and dryness, form two intermediate elements, 
whose purpose is to reconcile the contrary extremes. 
Although Aristotle thus assumes the four aToix^la of 




Empedocles, he maintains with Heraclitus and Democritus 
that these elements are homogeneous, and that they rep- 
resent successive transformations of one and the same 
matter. In fact, experience shows him that solids pass 
into liquids, liquids into gases, gases into fire, and vice 
versa^ that fu'e and gases are liquefied, and liquids solidi- 
fied. Hence, he identifies the chemical notion of element 
with the physical notion of state. 

The difference existing between the elements of sub- 
lunary matter depends essentially on the nature of the 
movement peculiar to the earth, and does not extend 
beyond our world. It is not found in the celestial spheres, 
which consist of pure ether. This ether is not a fifth ele- 
ment (jre^jiirTov aTot'x^dov)^ as has been erroneously believed, 
but the original and neutral substance which Anaximander 
called the airapov^ and which is the substratum common to 
the four elements of the terrestrial sphere. There can be 
no dense liquid, gaseous, or fiery elements in the heavens, 
because there is no contrast between heavy and light, cold 
and warm, in that region ; and this contrast does not exist 
in the heavenly spheres, because rectilinear and vertical 
motion is unknown there. 

Removed as they are from the contrasts of our perishable 
world, and coming into direct communion with the first 
mover, who dwells in the outermost heaven,^ the bright 
inhabitants of the skies enjoy happiness unalloyed, and are 
endowed with immortality. They of all beings most re- 
semble the unmoved first mover. Their movements are 
not arbitrary ; what seems to be an imperfection is in reality 
a divine prerogative. Even the free man is much more 
determined in his actions than the slave and the animal ; 
for he obeys the established laws of the State, while they 
contribute but little to jniblii; affaii's, and lia])itually act by 
chance.2 The more reason a being possesses, the more reg- 
1 Phys., VIII., 14, 24. 2 jiieL, XII., 10, 4. 



ular are its acts, and the less arbitrary is its behavior. 
Moreover, the more immovable the secondary gods are, the 
more they resemble him in whom there is neither move- 
ment nor change of any kind. As immovable beings, any 
number of them can exist in one and the same sphere. The 
planets, which are inferior in dignity to the fixed stars, are 
likewise immortal and uncreated beings endowed with life 
and activity.^ The movers of the planets impart to their 
resj)ective spheres movements that are opposed to the 
divine and perfect movement of the tt/owto? ovpavo^, thereby 
declaring their independence of the Deity and their hostility 
towards the universal order. We have here the beginning 
of evil, but so small a beginning that the life of Mercury, 
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and the Moon,^ 
is, as compared with the life of the earth, a divine, perfect, 
and happy existence. 

The operation of the four elements, and the perpetual 
change of bodies resulting from it (the irdvTa pel of Hera- 
clitus), are confined to the terrestrial and sublunary sphere. 
This is the s^Dhere of becoming, birth, and death, and — in 
so far as c^ucrt? signifies production, generation, or becom- 
ing — the stage of nature proper as distinguished from the 
sky, which is the abode of the supernatural^ that is, of the 
unchangeable and everlasting.^ The opposition between 
earth and heaven, iv6d8e and e'/cet, the Here and the Beyond, 
the natural and the supernatural, has not, it is true, the 
same meaning and import in Aristotle as in Catholicism ; 
still it is certain that this dualism adds to his cosmology a 
tinge of Platonic mysticism that contrasts with his onto- 
logical principles. It was this dualistic conception of an 
earth placed in the centre of the world and a God placed 
at the periphery, as far from the earth as possible, that 

1 De c(eIo, 292. 

2 Both sun and moon are considered as planets. 

3 Met, XL, 6, 12. 



caused the Church to adopt the Aristotelian system, and 
led to its being forced upon the minds of men as revealed 
truth, even after the great majority of scientists had taken 
sides with Copernicus. 

Aristotle's meteorology is more independent than his 
astronomical theories, which are based on the preconcep- 
tions of his age. The terrestrial atmosphere comprises two 
regions (roVot), one of which is moist and cold, and sur- 
rounds the earth and the ocean ; while the other is formed 
of an element that is lighter and warmer than air, called 
TTvp by Heraclitus, and extends to the vault of the 
heavens.^ In the highest atmosphere are situated the 
comets and the milky-way (!). The lower atmosphere pro- 
duces winds, storms, rainbows, and other meteors, which 
are explained, in the same way as earthquakes and tides, 
by the reciprocal action between the upper and lower 
atmospheric strata and the waters of the earth. Aristotle's 
theory, or at least his explanation of aerial and ocean cur- 
rents, contains, as we see, a shadow of the truth. But it 
is in the sphere of natural science proper that his genius 
bursts forth in all its grandeur. 

The organic world is the real domain of final causes. 
Here, more than anywhere else, nature reveals herself as 
an artist of infinite capacity, universally choosing the sim- 
plest and the best means of arriving at her goal. What 
distinguishes nature from art (rex^rj) is this : The goal at 
which the artist aims exists in his thought as a clearly-con- 
ceived idea, while in nature it exists as an instinct. There 
is an end to be realized in the case of the bird which cre- 
ates itself as well as in the case of the bed that is made by 
the joiner. In order to become a reality, the end hed 
needs the hands of the joiner ; the end realizes itself ; 
in both instances, however, final causes play an important 
part. But, what of the objection that nature sometimes 
^ Meteorology, 1, 3. 



produces monsters ? Well, mistakes may be made in her 
domain as well as in the domain of art. A grammarian 
may, in spite of his knowledge, make a mistake in spelling ; 
a physician, though skilful, may administer the wrong 
medicine. So, too, errors can creep into the operations of 
nature, and monstrosities are merely deviations from a goal 
that is aimed at without success. ^ Nature desires the best 
without always being able to achieve it.^ Her mistakes 
must be charged to matter, not to the active idea.^ Fur- 
thermore, it would be absurd to deny natural teleology sim- 
ply because we do not see in nature a deliberating motive 
principle. Art does not deliberate either ; in the majority 
of cases there is no need of reflection. Art moves from 
without, nature from within. If the art of naval construc- 
tion were in the wood, it would resemble nature in its 
action.^ Hence nature acts teleologically as well as art.^ 
The end or ^purpose is the very principle that makes her 
act^ and pre-exists in principle in the organisms produced 
hy her J 

Organisms differ from inorganic bodies in that they are 
impelled by an inner principle ("^/^fx^), which employs a 
number of organs (opjava) in order to realize its purposes. 
The vegetable kingdom is not an end in itself ; the animal 
which lives on the plant is its end. Hence the soul of the 
plant simply performs the functions of assimilation and 
reproduction (to OpeirTiKov). The soul of the animal has, 
in addition, the faculty of feeling (to alaOr^TLKov)^ to which 
is added, in higher animals, the capacity to retain sense- 
impressions {^vijfjL7]). The sensations of sight, hearing, smell, 
taste, and touch, meet in a common sense {kolvtj ac(r6r}(ri<;), 

1 Phys., II., 8, 9. « Politics, I., 2, 14, 19. » Phys., II., 8, 8. 
* This is what modern metaphysics calls the immanent teleology of 

« Phys., IL, 8, 15, 16. e Id., H., 9, 4 

^ Met., TX., 8 ; De part, anim., IT., 1. 



which synthesizes them and constitutes a rudimentary form 
of inner apperception. The soul of the animal is suscep- 
tible of pleasure and pain ; hence it strives for what makes 
an agreeable impression upon it, and shuns the contrary (to 
opetcTLKov^ the active faculty or will). Hence the spon- 
taneous movement of the animal {(j)opd^ to klvijtlkov Kara 
Tov TOTTov). In addition to all these endowments of animal 
life, the human soul possesses the faculty of knowledge or 
reason (to BcavoTjTtKov). Owing to this, man is the master- 
piece of nature, the most perfect organic being (e;^et o 
dvOpcoTTOf; rrjv (jyvaiv dTrorereXeo-fjLevrjv^). He is the final 
goal (TeXo?) at which nature aims throughout the advan- 
cing forms of the animal kingdom. Her failure to attain 
this goal immediately is due to the resistance of matter ; 
but, untiring in her efforts, she makes many attempts which 
come nearer and nearer to the final purpose for which she 
strives, until the end is finally realized. So, too, the young 
artist tries a thousand times before completely realizing his 

The organic world therefore forms an ascending scale. 
The organisms and their corresponding souls are per- 
fected in the measure in which the ultimate purpose 
of the zoological development, the human species, pene- 
trates and overcomes inorganic matter.^ Corresponding 
to the elementary plant-soul we have an organism in 
which up and down are distinguishable, but in Avhich 
there is no difference between front and back, right and 
left ; the plant has its mouth below (the root) and its 
genital apparatus above (the flower) ; it has no back or 
chest. A body corresponds to the animal soul, in which 
is found the double opposition between up and down, 
right and left. In man, at last, the up and down coin- 
cides with the absolute up and down. 

* Historia animalium, IX., I. 

2 The fundamental conception of comparative anatomy. 



The animal kingdom is divided into two classes, one 
of which embraces sanguineous animals, viz., mammalians, 
birds, fishes, amphibia ; while the other consists of insects, 
crustaceans, testaceans, and mollusks.^ Warmth is in- 
separable from life, and the relative perfection of an 
animal directly depends upon the amount of heat in it. 
Aristotle believes in spontaneous generation on a grand 
scale, although he denies it in the case of higher ani- 
mals. Owing to his ignorance of tlie facts established 
by modern geology in reference to the changes which the 
earth has undergone, he seems to assume the eternity of 
life and of species a parte ante as well as a parte post. 

The relation existing between the organized body and 
the soul, its vital principle, is the same as that existing be- 
tween matter and form, potentiality and actuality, capacity 
(Bvva/JLL^) and function (ivreXexeia). Because of this inti- 
mate correlation, the organized body exists and lives only 
for the sake of the soul, which is its final cause or the pur- 
pose for Avhich it exists (to ov eve/ca to acofia) ; but the soul, 
too, is a reality only in so far as it animates something, in 
so far as it is tlie soul of a body, the energy of an organ- 
ism, the function of an instrument (evreXexeta rod awfjiaTo^). 
Without the body the soul may, indeed, exist potentially 
{hwafxei), but not actually or in reality (evepjeid). It is, 
according to Aristotle, as impossible to feel, to desire, and 
to will, without the necessary corporeal organs, as it is to 
walk without feet or to make a statue out of nothing 
{/SaBi^etv avev ttoSmv^ opav avev 6(f)9a\/jLa)v^ avhpia<^ dvev 
XaXfcov'^). The soul is to the body what cutting is to the 
axe ; the function of cutting would be the soul of the axe 
if the latter were a living being. Now, just as cutting is 
impossible without an axe, so too the constitutive functions 
of the soul are inseparable from the body. 

1 De partihus animal ium, I., 3. 

2 De generalione animalium, II., 3. Cf. Mel., VIL, 11, 11. 




From the relation obtaining between the organism and 
its vital principle, it necessarily follows, in the second 
place, that metempsychosis, or the doctrine according to 
which any soul may inhabit any body, is impossible. Since 
the soul is the function of the body, or rather, the sum of 
its functions or the resultant of its forces, it is evident that 
its manifestations or acts (that is, in the last analysis, the 
soul itself, since it is essentially action and energy) are 
determined by the nature and special organization of the 
body which it animates. We cannot produce the tones of 
the flute by means of an anvil, nor the sound of an anvil 
by a flute. It is equally impossible to have a human soul 
in the body of a horse, and vice versa. 

The body is potentiality or capacity, and the soul its 
energy or function. The latter, again, is potentiality or 
capacity, or rather a sum of capacities (SvvdfjieL^) ; it con- 
sists of the capacities of feeling, perceiving, and willing, 
of which sensation, perception, and volition are the actions 
or energies. Hence the soul is the entclecliy or primary 
function of an organized hody^ and its manifestations or 
effects are the secondary functions or energies of this 

In so far as the soul is sensation, imagination, memory, 
and will, it suffers the fate of all earthly things ; it is perish- 
able {(fiOapro^ '^), The intellect itself has a mortal part in 
addition to its immortal and divine element. The mortal 
part comprises the sum of our ideas in so far as these are 
determined by bodily impressions, that is, whatever the 
intellect receives, suffers, and does not create or bring 
forth. The entire passive side of the intelligence {vov<; 
7ra67]TLK(k) shares the fate of the body, without which it 
cannot be conceived. Only the active intellect (voik irotrj- 

^ De anima, IT., 1 : Et hq ti koivov en\ naarjs \//'vx'7? 5ft 'Keyav, fir} av 
ePTcXf^eia rj TTponTr} (ro)fxaTos (f)vaiKov opyaviKov. 

2 De anima, 111., 5: 'O Be 7rn6r\TiKos vovf ^^apros. 



Tt/co?), the pure reason, which conceives the universal and 
the divine, enjoys the privilege of immortality ; for it alone 
cannot be explained as a function of the body ; nay it is 
essentially different 76^09 erepov) and separable 

('X^copicTTov) from this, Avhile the other faculties cannot be 
separated from it (ra Xoiira fiopia tt}? yjrv)(^ri^ ovk eVrt 
')((opiaTd The active intellect is not a capacity, but an 
actual being {ovaCa ivepyeia cov) ; it is not a product of 
nature, a result of the development of the soul, like sen- 
sibility, imagination, and memory ; it is not a product, an 
effect, or a creature at all, but an absolute principle (Oelov)^ 
that existed before the soul as well before the body, and 
was united with it mechanically {dvpaOev). This separate 
intellect (x^optorro^) is absolutely immaterial {ayLi'yq'^)^ im- 
passive {a7ra6r)<^\ imperishable, and eternal {a6avaro<^ koI 
atho^) ; without it the passive and perishable intellect can- 
not think {avev rovrou ovBev voel 2). 

This seeming immortality,^ with which Aristotle endoAVS 
the soul, again disappears when we remember that not only 
does the active intellect not constitute the thinking indivi- 
dual, but that it does not even form a part of him, — that it 
comes from without (dvpaOev), and is not bound to the me 
by any organic tie. It is hard to tell what Aristotle really 
means by this active intellect, and the majority of his many 
commentators have exhausted their wits in trying to explain 
it. The logic of the system demands that we identify it 
with God himself; for its definition agrees, in every re- 
spect, with that of the absolute vov<;^ Moreover, Aristotle 
cannot assume a plurality of separate intelligences without 
contradicting a principle of his metaphysics: vjJiatever is 
plural is material.^ The vov<i ttolt^tlko^ is declared to be 

^ De anhna, II., 9. 

2 Id., III., 5. Cf. De gener. et corrupt., IT, 3. 
« Met., XII., 3, 10. 4 Ihid. 

6 Id., XIII., 6, 21. 




absolutely immaterial (airaOrj^;^ ctfjuy^';). Hence it can only 
exist in the singular : it is unique, and resembles the im- 
manent reason, the world-soul, or the universal spirit (X070? 
Tov TravTo^;) of Stoic pantheism, of which the particular souls 
are temporary personifications. The transcendency of the 
God of Aristotle would not exclude such an interpreta- 
tion, for the Metaphysics affirms both the transcendency of 
the Deity and his immanency in the universe as the phy- 
sical and moral order of the world ; but what excludes it 
is the very emphatic assertion that the active intellect is 
substantial (ovro? 6 vov<; 'x^copLaro'^ koI airaOrf'^ /cal a/jLtyr)<;, rrj 
ovcTLawv iuepyeia^). Logically, this intellect can be nothing 
but the Supreme Being himself. When Aristotle allows 
himself to call the vov^ atSto<; a part of the soul and its im- 
mortal part at that, we shall say that his logic is at fault. 
One thing, however, is certain : by affirming that the eter- 
nal intelligence alone is immortal, he positively denies 
individual immortality. On this point of the Peripatetic 
teaching there cannot be the slightest dispute. 

The active intellect (TroLrjrLKo^) is by no means identical 
with the human intellect, and its immortality is of little or no 
use. Indeed, according to Aristotle's theory of knowledge, 
which is closely akin to the teachings of Democritus and 
sensationalism, the human understanding is not the creator 
or the father (TroLrjrrj^)^ but only the recipient or the mother 
of ideas. It is, by nature, devoid of all content, and re- 
sembles an empty tablet or a white page {ypafjiixarelov <p fir)6ev 
vTTdp')(ei ivreX€')(^eLa<ye<ypaiJLfjL€vov^). Peripatetic sensualism 
does not, however, exclude the excipe intellectum of Leibniz, 
but assumes that ideas pre-exist in the mind, if not actually, 
potentially at least {hwdixei) ; in other words^ it maintains 
that the mind originally possesses, not ready-made ideas, 
but the faculty of forming them.^ The ex nihilo nihil is 

1 De anima, III., 5. 2 /^.^ m 4. 

2 See the discussions of this subject by Locke and Leibniz (§§ 56 
and 57). 



one of Aristotle's fundamental doctrines. Although he 
holds that the infant mind is an empty tablet, that expe- 
rience is the source of our knowledge, that intelligence 
is developed and realized by sensation, he does not teach 
either an anti-philosophical dualism or a vulgar mechan- 
ism. On the contrary, dualism affirms one of the principles 
of knowledge to the exclusion of the other; it isolates 
thought and keeps it from having intercourse with nature, 
on the plea that any increase produced through the senses 
would be a pollution. Plato teaches such a dualism. As 
far as Aristotle is concerned, the charge of dualism may 
with justice be brought against his theology, on the one 
hand, and his theory of the active intellect, on the other. 

The presence of the vov<; makes the human soul an inter- 
mediate being between the animal and God. In sensibility, 
perception, and memory, it resembles the animal ; in reason 
it is like God. This dual aspect constitutes its originality 
as a moral being. There can be no morality without the 
coexistence of animal and intellectual principles. The ani- 
mal is not a moral being, because it is devoid of intellect. 
Nor can there be any question of morality in the case of God, 
who is pure thought. Hence morality is the distinguish- 
ing characteristic of human nature, and if the end of every 
being is the complete and perfect realization of its nature, 
the end of human life consists neither in the one-sided 
development of the animal functions nor in changing man 
into God (which would be foolish and impossible), but in 
the complete and harmonious expansion of our dual essence. 
For man the highest good consists in the happiness (evSaL- 
liovLo) resulting from the harmonious cooperation of the in- 
tellect and the animal elements. Such a state of equilibrium 
constitutes virtue. The harmony between the active and 
passive intellect is called intellectual virtue (aperr) Siavor)- 
TLKTi) ; this manifests itself as wisdom in theory, and as 
prudence or common-sense {(j>p6v7]aL^, ev^ovXCa) in practice. 



The harmony between the intellect and the will is called 
ethical virtue {aperrj rjOL/crj)^ that is, courage, temperance, 
liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, gentleness, sincer- 
ity, and sociableness. Virtue is not the extreme opposite 
of vice (as Plato holds) ; it is the mean (ro fieaov) between 
two extremes (uKpa). Courage, for example, is a virtue, 
and as such the mean between timidity and foolhardiness ; 
liberality is the mean between avarice and prodigality 

Inasmuch as man is ^vaec ^cpov ttoXltlkov^ individuals 
cannot make and change the State at will ; on the con- 
trary, the State forms the individuals. The family, prop- 
erty, and slavery are natural institutions. It is no truer 
that the same form of government is as suitable to all 
nations and circumstances than that the same garment fits 
everybody. The monarchy is the best form of government 
when the power is in the hands of a good prince ; for in 
this case it is an image of the government of the universe : 
a perfect monarchy under a perfect monarch. But tliis 
form is the most odious of all when it becomes tyranny. 
The safety of the State consists in a just apportionment 
of powers, and depends essentially on the strength of 
the middle classes.^ 

Aristotle's ethics and politics, like his metaphysics, are 
decidedly antagonistic to the Utopian ideals of Plato. He 
is a realist and a positiyist, a common-sense thinker, so to 
speak, and takes into special account the facts of experi- 
ence ; he is exceedingly careful not to set up an ideal goal 
which humanity can never reach. His entire pliilosophy is 
a doctrine of the golden mean, and as far removed from a 
coarse sensationalism as from an idealism that is out of 
harmony with real life. In his love of science for science's 
sake, the suppleness and versatility of his genius, his predi- 
lection for measure, proportion, and the harmony of the 

^ Niconiachean Ethics, II., 5 ff . ^ Politics, IV., 9. 



ideal and the real, Aristotle represents the climax of Greek i 
thought. But he also marks its decline, and inaugurates j 
a new epoch in the general evolution of humanity. He 
resembles a Semite or a Roman in the unremitting good 
sense which he displays, and in his sober positivism. His 
style is not, like that of his master, the work of the Muses. 
But his philosophy is even more realistic in matter than 
in form. His fundamental metaphysical teaching, which 
makes matter a necessary element of finite existence ; the 
epistemological doctrine that the mind is an empty tablet ; 
his monotheism, which is much more outspoken and absol- 
ute than Plato's ; his morality of the golden mean ; his 
monarchical tendencies, — everything about his system is a 
forecast of the new world, the elements of which were pre- 
pared at Pella, Rome, Alexandria, and Jerusalem. 

Among the most distinguished scholarchs who succeeded 
him in the Lyceum are to be mentioned Theophrastus,i 
Dicsearchus,^ Aristoxenus,^ and, above all, Strato of Lamp- 
sacus,^ the teacher of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Aristoxenus 
denies the immortality of the intellect, and Strato the exist- 
ence of God ; which proves, either that the master's doctrine 
of immortality and the first mover was merely an accom- 
modation, or that his ancient followers were even less 
united than his mediaeval disciples. What distinguishes 
the pupils from the master, and what characterizes post- 
Aristotelian philosophy as a whole, is the gradual division 
of scientific labor which takes place after Aristotle. The 
work of Aristotle the scientist was continued in Sicily, 

1 Cicero ad Attic, II., 16 ; Acad, post., L, 9; Definihus,Y., 5, 12; 
Tuscul. v., 9 ; Simplicius, In Phys., f. 225. [See also for Theophras- 
tus and other disciples of Aristotle, Hitter and Preller, pp. 361 ft. ; 
Mullach, vol. II., pp. 293 ft. ; Writings edited by Schneider, 1818 ff. ; 
Fragments, by Wimmer, 1854, 1862. —Tr.] 

2 Cic, Tuscul. I., 10. 3 Ibid. 

* Cic. de nat. deor., 1, 13; De fin., V., 5; Diog. L., V», 58; Sim- 
plicius, loc. cit. 



Egypt, and the islands of the Mediterranean ; while Athens, 
and in Athens the Lyceum itself, merely retained a philoso- 
phy of reasoning, dialectics, and eristics, which cared less 
and less for the physical cosmos^ and devoted its entire 
attention to the soul. 

What is the essence, the aim, the destiny of the human 
soul, the favorite topic of Attic philosophy ? Plato regards 
thought as the essence and end of the soul, and Aristotle's 
theology is at bottom simply an apotheosis of vois. Epi- 
curus, however, like Democritus, negates the thought- 
substance and teaches a philosophy of pleasure. Between 
these two extremes we have the concrete spiritualism of 
the Stoics. 

B. Apotheosis of Matter. Negation of the 

§ 18. Epicurus 

Epicurus ^ was born about 840, at Gargettos, of Athenian 
parents. Reflection on his mother's superstitious practices 
and the study of Democritus made him sceptical, and 
convinced him that our fear of the gods and the hereafter 
is the principal obstacle to the happiness of man ; and it is 
the business of philosophy to make us happy by freeing us, 
through observation and reasoning, from the belief in the 

1 Sources : Diog. L.. X. ; Cic, De Jin., I. ; Lucretius, De rerum natura : 
Sext. Emp., Adv. math., XI. ; Gassendi, De vita, moribus, et doctrina 
Epicuri, 1647, and Syntagma philosophice Epic, 1655 ; The Studies on 
Epicurus and Lucretius by J. Rondel (Paris, 1679), Batteux (1758), 
etc. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 373 ff. ; Guyau, La morale d' Epicure et 
ses rapports avec les doctrines contemporaines, Paris, 1878; [Trezza, Epi- 
curo e r Epicureismo, Florence, 1877, 2d ed. Milan, 1885; P. v. Gizycki, 
Ueher das Lehen und die Moralpliilosopliie des Epikurs, Halle, 1879; 
W. Wallace, Epicureanism, London, 1880 ; Usener, Epicurea, Leipsic, 
1887. See also Grote's Aristotle, and Suseniihl, mentioned p. 140. — 



supernatural. In the society which he founded at Athens 
about 306, his personal influence seems to have been very 
great, and the maxims which he dictated to his disciples 
{icvpLai ho^ai) formed the permanent basis of the Epicurean 
teaching long after his death (270). But neither polythe- 
ism nor Christianity had any interest in preserving his 
numerous writings,^ nearly all of which have been lost, and 
this Socrate double (Vmi Voltaire has been more bitterly 
attacked than any other founder of a school. 

Unlike Aristotle, who loves science for science's sake, 
and considers the first philosophy as the best and most 
divine science, ''although others may be more useful," ^ 
Epicurus makes science the servant of life, and is inter- 
ested in theory only in so far as it is related to practice. 
The aim of philosophy,^ which he divides into the canonic 
(logic), physics, and ethics, is, according to him, to make 
human life tranquil and peaceful {arapa^ia), and this aim 
he finds realized in the system of Democritus, with whom 
he agrees in almost every respect. 

Matter is not non-being^ as Plato holds, but the positive 
and only principle of things, the universal substratum^ of 
which soul, mind, and thought are mere accidents (av/jLTrrcb- 
fiara rj avfjL^e^rjKora). Outside of it, there is nothing but 
the void, the condition of movement. Matter is composed 
of innumerable, uncreated, and indestructible atoms in per- 
petual motion. According to Democritus, these corpuscles 
naturally and necessarily move downward. But inasmuch 

1 About three hundred, according to Diogenes Laertius. With the 
exception of the Letters, etc., preserved by this historian, we know 
nothing of the lost writings except what we can learn from the quota- 
tions found in various Greek authors, the valuable resume -presented 
by Lucretius in his De rerum natwa, and the fragments of the work 
TTfpt (f)va€<jos, etc., discovered at Herculaneum. 

2 Met., I., 2, 19-25. 

2 Epicurus defines it as follows : ^Evepyaa Xo'yots Koi diaXoyiafioi? top 
fv8aifJLova ^Lov nepnroioixra (Sext. Enip., Adv. 7nath., XI., 169). 



as they are joined together and form bodies, it must be 
assumed, according to Epicurus, that they deviated from 
the perpendicular line. Such a deviation could only have 
been the result of chance. Epicurus is not, therefore, an 
absolute determinist, for he assumes chance, that is, the 
possibility of an effect without a cause. This view allows 
him to recognize in ethics the freedom of indifference, or 
causes without effects.^ 

But though, by an inconsistency that does more credit to 
his imagination than to his logic, he differs from Democritus 
on the subject of causality, he agrees with him regarding 
the eternity of the universe. The absolute creation and 
absolute destruction of the world are out of the question. 
Creation in the proper sense of the term is impossible. In 
order to convince ourselves that the world is not the work 
of the gods, we have simply to consider the nature of 
its alleged creators, on the one hand, and its imperfections, 
on the other. Why should such perfect and supremely 
happy beings, who are self-sufficient and have no need 
of anything, burden themselves with creating the world? 
Why should they undertake the difficult task of governing 
the universe ? Let us, however, suppose for a moment that 
the world is their product. If they have created it, they 
have created it either eternally or in time ; in the former 
case, the world is eternal ; in the latter, we have two pos- 
sibilities : Either creation is a condition of divine happi- 
ness, and then the gods were not supremely happy for an 
entire eternity, inasmuch as they did not create the world 
until after the lapse of an eternity of inaction ; or, it is 
not, and in that case, they have acted contrary to their 
innermost essence. Moreover, what could have been their 
purpose in making it? Did they desire a habitation? 
T'liat would be equivalent to saying tliat they had no dwell- 
ing-place for a whole eternity, or at least, none wortliy of 

1 Lucretius, 7)e rerum nafura, IL, 21G ff. ; Diog. L., X., 133-134. 



them. Did they create it for the sake of man? If they 
made it for the few sages whom this world contains, their 
work Avas not worth the trouble ; if they did it in order to 
create wicked men, then they are cruel beings. Hence it 
is absolutely impossible to hold that creation is the work 
of the gods. 

Let us examine the matter from the standpoint of the 
world. Plow can we assume that a world full of evils is 
the creation of the gods ? What have we ? Barren deserts, 
arid mountains, deadly marshes, uninhabitable arctic zones, 
regions scorched by the southern sun, briars and thorns, 
tempests, hail-storms and hurricanes, ferocious beasts, dis- 
eases, premature deaths ; do they not all abundantly prove 
that the Deity has no hand in the governance of things ? 
Empty space, atoms, and weight, in short, mechanical 
causes, suffice to explain the world; and it is not neces- 
sary for metaphysics to have recourse to the theory of 
final causes. It is possible, nay, it is certain that gods 
exist : all the nations of the earth agree to that. But 
these supremely happy beings who are free from passion, 
favoritism, and all human weaknesses,^ enjoy absolute 
repose. In their far-off home they are unmoved by the 
miseries of humanity; nor can they exert any influence 
on the life of man. There can be no magic, divination, 
or miracles, nor any kind of intercourse between them 
and us. 

We should cease to fear the punishments of Tartarus. 
The soul is material, and shares the fate of the body. 
What proves it to be matter — exceedingly fine matter, of 
course — is the influence exercised upon it by the body in 
fainting, anaesthesia, and delirium, in cases of injury and 
disease, and above all, the fact that the advance and 
the decline of the soul correspond to analogous bodily 

^ Diog. L., X. 139 : To jxaKapiov Ka\ n(f)dapTov . . . ovt opyais ovTf 
XdpLaL avve^^erai. iv acrOevel yap nav to tolovtov. 



conditions. The intellectual faculties are weak in the 
period of childhood ; they grow strong in youth, and 
gradually decay in old age. Sickness causes a serious 
reaction upon the soul ; without the body the soul has no 
power to manifest itself. Nay, more than that ; the dying 
man does not feel his soul gradually withdraAving from 
one organ to another, and then finally making its escape 
with its powers unimpaired ; he experiences a gradual 
diminution of his mental faculties. If the soul retained 
full consciousness at death, and if, as certain Platonists 
maintain, death were the transition of the soul to a 
higher life, then, instead of fearing death, man would re- 
joice at it, which is not the case. Moreover, our fear of 
death is not caused by our dread of non-existence ; what 
makes us regard it with such terror is the fact that we 
involuntarily combine with the idea of nothingness an idea 
of life, that is, the notion of feeling this nothingness ; we 
imagine that the dead man is conscious of his gradual 
destruction, that he feels himself burning, or devoured by 
the worms, that the soul continues to exist and to feel. ^^If 
only we could succeed in wholly separating the idea of life 
from its opposite, and bravely relinquish all thought of im- 
mortality, death would lose its terrors. We should say to 
ourselves : Death is not an evil ; neither for him who is 
dead, for he has no feeling; nor for the living, for him 
death does not yet exist. As long as we are alive, death 
does not exist for us, and when death appears we no longer 
exist. Hence we can never come in contact with death ; 
we never feel its icy touch, which we dread so much. 

Consequently, we should not be hindered by foolish fears 
from attaining the goal of our existence, happiness. Pleas- 
ure is the highest good ; not the pleasure accompanying a 
passing sensation (rjSovrj ev Kivqaei)^ but pleasure as a per- 
manent state {r)hovrj Karaarrj/jLaTLKT]), — that state of deep 
peace and perfect contentment in which we feel secure 



against the storms of life. Tlie pleasures of the mind 
are preferable to voluptuousness, for they endure ; while 
sensations vanish away like the moment which procures 
them for us. We should avoid excess in everything, lest 
it engender its opposite, the permanent pain resulting from 
exhaustion. On the otlier hand, we must consider such 
painful feelings as, for example, painful operations, as good, 
because they procure health and pleasure. Virtue is the 
tact which impels the wise man to do whatever contributes 
to his welfare, and makes liini avoid the contrary. Virtue 
is not the highest good, but the true and only means of 
realizing it.^ 

Owing to its simplicity, its anti-mystical character, and 
its easy application, the Epicurean system became a for- 
midable rival of Platonism, Peripateticism, and Stoicism. 
Italy received it with especial favor, and reckoned among 
its disciples, the poet Lucretius, who wrote the De Ternm 
natura^ T. Cassius, L. Torquatus, T. Pomponius Atticus, 
Csesar, Horace, and Pliny the Younger. During the reign 
of the Caesars, Stoicism was represented by the republican 
opposition, while Epicureanism gathered around its standard 
the partisans of the new order of things, who were fortu- 
nate in being able to realize the ideals of the master under 
the auspices of a great and peaceful power. Protected as 
it was by the Emperors,^ the school destroyed what re- 
mained of the crumbling edifice of polytheism, and at the 
same time attacked the new religion and the supernatural 

1 Diog. L., X., 140 : Ovk eanv i^Se'cop (rjv avev tov (f)povifjLcos Koi koXcos 
KOI diKaias- 

2 A Latin and Greek inscription recently discovered in the excava- 
tions of the Archaeological Society at Athens and dating from the 
time of Hadrian, wholly confirms what we already know as to the 
special protection accorded to the school of Epicurus by the Em- 
perors. Owing to this, it exerted the preponderating influence during 
the first centuries of our era, and aroused great jealousy among the 




C. Apotheosis of Will 
§ 19. Stoicism ^ 

The founder of the Stoic school, Zeno^ of Citium in 
Cyprus, was the son of a family of merchants of Phoenician 
origin. Upon losing his fortune through shipwreck, he 
decided to indulge his taste for study. He was alternately 
the disciple of Crates, the Cynic, of Stilpo, the Megarian, 
and of the Academicians, Xenocrates and Polemo. There- 
upon he taught philosophy in the ^roa tolkCXj) at Athens. 
Convinced of the rightness of suicide, he put an end to 
his life about 260, leaving a great reputation and a large 
number of disciples behind. The school was continued by 
Cleanthes,^ a native of the Troad, the supposed author of 
the so-called hymn of Cleanthes,* and after the voluntary 

Platonic, Peripatetic, and Stoic schools. The inscription also gives 
us some information, at least indirectly, concerning matters hitherto 
little known, as for example, the organization of the school during the 
imperial period, its mode of appointing scholarchs, etc. 

1 [Ritter and Preller, pp. 392 ff. ; Tiedemann, STjstem der stoiscTien 
Philosophie, 3 vols. Leipsic, 1776 ; Ravaisson, Essai sur le stoiciftme, 
Paris, 1856 ; Leferriere, Memoire concernant rinfluence du stoicisme sur 
la doctrine des jiirisconsultes romains, Paris, 1860 ; Hirzel, Untersuchnn- 
gen zu Ciceroni Philosophie, 3 vols., Leipsic, 1877-83 (Part II., pp. 1-566, 
for Stoics) ; Weygoldt, Die Philosophie der Stoa, Leipsic, 1883 ; Oge- 
reau, Essai sur le systeme philosophique des Sloiciens, Paris, 1885 ; Bon- 
hofer, Epildet und die Stoa, Stuttgart, 1890 ; and Die Ethik des 
Sfoikers Epiklef, Stuttgart, 1894 ; Schmekel, Die Philosophie der mil' 
tleren Stoa, Berlin, 1892; Zahn, Der Stoiker Ejriktet, 2d ed., Leipsic, 
1895; Stein, Die Psj/chologie der Sioa, 2 vols., Berlin, 1886-88; 
F. Susemihl, Geschichte der Lifteratur in der Alexandrinerzeit, 2 vols., 
Leipsic, 1891-92. — Tii.] 

2 Diog. L., VII. [Pearson, Fragments of Zeno and CleantheSf Cam- 
bridge, 1889]. 

8 Diog. L.,VIL, 168 ff. 

* Hymn to Jupiter (Stobaeus, EcL^ I., p. 30). 




death of the latter, by Chiysippus of Tarsus ^ (according 
to others, of Soli) in Cilicia (280-210), in whose numerous 
polemical writings against the Academy, the teachings of 
the school received their final form.^ 

In order to form a correct conception of Stoicism we 
must remember (1) that it is not merely a philosophy and 
a system of ethics, but a religion raised upon the ruins of 
popular polytheism ; (2) that its founder and its most ar- 
dent disciples trace their origin either to Semitic Asia or 
to Roman Italy; (3) that it is not the work of a single 
individual, but a collection of doctrines from different 
sources which meet in one and the same channel like the 
tributaries of a river. Hence its conservatism in religion 
and its dogmatism in metaphysics. Hence also its prac- 
tical turn, and, finally, the complex and Avholly eclectic 
nature of its teachings. 

Like Epicurus, Zeno and the Stoics pursue science for 
the sake of life ; truth, in so far as it is good and useful 
(to iTTLTriSetov^ to (otpeXi/jov) ; the search for the first cause 
of being, in order to discover the final goal of life (to 
TeXo?). Wisdom, i. e., theoretical and practical virtue, is 
the goal. Theoretical virtue consists in thinking correctly 
(aperr] Xojikt^) and in having correct notions of the nature 
of things (aperr] (j)vaL/cri) ; but practical virtue, which con- 
sists in right living and in acting according to reason, is 
the highest type of virtue, the goal aimed at by theoretical 
virtue, which is but a means. Whatever does not tend to 
make us better, and has no influence on our impulses and 
actions, is indifferent or bad. Logic, metaphysics, and the 
sciences have no raison d'etre except in so far as they are of 
practical value. They introduce us to the study of ethics, 
and this gives them their importance in the teachings of 
the school. 

1 Diog. L., VII., 179 ff; Cicero, passim. 

2 Cicero, De Jin., IV., 19, 56 ; Diog. L., VII., 1; Ogereau, op. cit. 



Conformably with its voluntaristic and anti-dualistic ten- 
dencies, Stoicism rejects Plato's separate Idea^ even more 
emphatically than Aristotle. Ideas or universals have no 
objective existence ; they exist neither outside of things, 
as Plato teaches, nor in things, as Aristotle holds ; they 
are mere abstractions of thought {eworjfiaTa)^ Jo which 
nothing corresponds in reality. Moreover, the soul has 
no innate ideas ; it is an empty tablet, and all its concepts 
come to it from without (dvpadev). The sensible impres- 
sion (rt^TTfoo-i?) is, according to Cleanthes, like an impression 
made upon a material object, like the mark of a seal upon 
wax. Chrysippus defines it as a modification of the soul 
{eT€poL(oai^). Sensation (aLcr67]cn<;) is the common source 
of all our ideas {(^avraaiai). The latter are divided into 
four categories, according as they express : substantiality 
(viroKei/Jieva)^ quality (ttolcl), mode of being (ttco? e^ovTo)^ 
or relation {irpo^ tI ttco^ e^ovra). An idea is true when it 
is an exact reproduction of its object. The criterion of the 
truth of an idea is its clearness, its self-evidence ((pavraaLai 
fcaTa\r]iTTLKaL). There are, according to Zeno, four degrees 
of knowledge : presentation, {(pavTaaCa)^ assent (o-vy/card- 
Oeo-L^)^ comprehension {KaTaXri^\n^\ and understanding 
(eTnarrjiJiTf). In order to illustrate the highest degree of 
knowledge, which the philosopher alone attains, Zeno, 
it is said, used to place his left hand upon his clenched 
right. Following the example of Aristotle, the Stoics 
regarded grammar and rhetoric as integral parts of logic. 
They are worthy successors of the great logician in this 
field ; indeed, the majority of our technical terms in gram- 
mar and syntax are of Stoic origin.^ 

1 For the Stoic logic, see Diog. L., VII., 41 ff. ; Cic, Acad, pr., II., 
47, and post, I., 11; Sextus Emp., Adv. math., VIII. ; Stobaeus, Eel. 
I.; Simplicius, In Caieg., f. 16 b; [Prantl, Geschichte der Logik ; 
Heinze, Zur Erkenntnisslehre der Stoiker, Leipsic, 1880 ; Stein, Die 
Erkenntnissiheorie der Stoiker, vol. II. of work mentioned above. — 



The Stoic metaphysic is, like their theory of knowledge, 
even more realistic than the system of Aristotle. It is 
concrete spiritualism pure and simple. Mind and body 
are two aspects of one and the same reality. In the real 
being, mind is the active element (to ttolovv) ; matter, the 
passive element (to irdaxov). There is no such thing as 
pure spirit. Whatever Aristotle may think of him, God 
has a body, and the world constitutes this body. The uni- 
verse is a living being (fwoy), of Avhich God is the soul 
(i^^XV '^^^ Koafjiov)^ the governing intelligence (i^oi)?, X0709 
Tov iravTo^)^ the sovereign law {elfLapjjLevr}^ avajKr)), the 
motive principle, the animating warmth (Trvevfia irvpoeihe^^ 
iTvp Te')(yiK6v^ TTvp voepov^ Trvevjxa SirjKOV St oXov rod fCoafjLOv). 

The Stoic theology is a kind of compromise between pan- 
theism and theism. God is identical with the universe, 
but this universe is a real being, a living God who has 
a knowledge of things (i^oO?), who governs our destinies 
iirp6voLa\ who loves us {<^i\dv6pw'Tro<;\ and desires our 
good (Kr}Be/jL0VLK6<;^ co(f)eXL/jLo<;^ €v7roLrjTLKo<; avdpQ)7roL<;), with- 
out, however, participating in human passions. The Stoics 
ascribe providential love to the Infinite Being ; hence their 
teaching differs essentially from that of the Peripatetics 
and Epicureans {ov/c addvarov /jlovov Kai fJLaKdpiov, aWa /cal 
<l)L\dv6p(07rov). Their pantheism, which does not exclude the 
notion of Providence, is essentially religious. They have 
a pious respect for the religious forms of paganism ; they 
grant the existence of gods who are inferior to Jupiter, 
and who are revealed either in the stars or in the forces 
of nature ; but they declare these gods to be mortal, and 
ascribe immortality to the Supreme Being alone. ^ 

1 The Stoics of the different periods differ widely as to religion. 
The ancient Stoics are unenlightened enough to combat the heliocen- 
tric system in the name of religion, while the Roman Stoics are much 
more liberal, but not less accommodating. They look upon myths as 
allegories, the hidden meaning of which must be unravelled. Jupiter 
is the soul, but the intelligent soul, of the world. 



The Stoic system of physics is like that of Heraclitus ; it 
adopts the view that heat is the principle of life, the theory 
of the periodical conflagration and renewal of the world, 
and shows what an important part the struggle for ex- 
istence plays in nature. Inasmuch as the world is the body 
of the Deity, it is necessarily a perfect organism (reXeLov 
<7ft)yLta), and immaculately beautiful. Conversely, the per- 
fection of the universe proves that it envelopes an infinite 
Intelligence,^ which is not, it is true, a transcendent prin- 
ciple, like the God of Aristotle, who moves only the Empy- 
rean, but an omnipresent being like the human soul, which 
is present in all parts of the body. The evil in the world 
cannot shake the Stoic's faith in God ; for just as a false 
note may contribute to the general harmony, and as, in a 
picture, the shadows tend to relieve the light and the 
colors, so, too, the evil contributes to the realization of the 
good. In the struggle with injustice, cowardice, and in- 
temperance, justice, courage, and moderation shine with a 
brighter light. Instead of shaking the faith of the Stoic in 
Providence, evil confirms it, for evil adds to the universal 
harmony. The details alone are imperfect ; the whole of 
things is supremely perfect. 

Man is to the God-universe what the spark is to the 
flame, the drop to the ocean. Our body is a fragment 
of universal matter ; our soul, a warm breath emanating 
from the soul of the world (irvevfia evOepf-iov). Since, from 
the Stoic point of view, reality is synonymous with cor- 
poreality, the soul too is matter. If it were not so, the 
reciprocal action between it and the body would be incon- 
ceivable. The incorporeal cannot act upon a body. The 
decomposition of the body does not necessarily involve 
the destruction of the soul ; and even if there be no liere- 
after for all men, the soul of the sage at least, whicli is 
more vigorous than that of common mortals, survives death. 

1 The physico-theological argument. 



But though it may exist beyond the grave, say for cen- 
tiiries, even the philosopher's soul is not immortal in 
the absolute sense ; for on the last day it will, like every- 
thing else in the world, disappear in the universal con- 
flagration {eKirvpwaL^). Absolute immortality belongs to 
God alone. The fate which awaits the soul is not, how- 
ever, a destruction of its substance ; it will return to the 
infinite ocean whence it came.^ 

The Stoics had no fixed dogmas concerning theoretical 
questions like the above ; one might believe in immortality 
or not, without ceasing to be a disciple of the Stoa.^ What 
constituted the Stoic and united all the members of the 
school was the moral idealism which had been taught long 
before the times of Zeno by men like Socrates, Plato, and 
Antisthenes ; and their motto was virtue for virtue's sake. 
The highest good, according to Stoicism, is to practise vir- 
tue for its own sake, to do your duty because it is your 
duty; everything else, health, fortune, honors, pleasures, 
are indifferent (aSidcpopa)^ and even bad, when they are the 
sole object of your strivings. Virtue alone makes us happy, 
provided we seek it in a disinterested manner. It does not 
consist merely in the outward performance of the good (to 
Ka6rjKov), but in an habitual disposition of the soul (e^t?, 
KaropdcofjLo). It is one ; you cannot be virtuous in one re- 
spect and vicious in another. It is the common source of 
what we call the virtues^ i. e., wisdom ((j)povr)(n<;)^ courage 
(avBpLa)^ temperance ((T(0(j)poavvr])^ and justice (SL/caLoa-vvrj). 
To possess one of these cardinal virtues is to possess them 

1 For the Stoic metaphysics and physics, see Diog. L., YII. ; 
Stobaeus, Eel. I.; Cic, De nat. deor. ; De fato ; Seneca, Epistle 65, 
etc. ; Plutarch, De Stoic. Rep., 41 ff. [Cf. also vol. I. of L. Stein's 
work, cited, p. 140 ; Siebeck, Untersucliungen, cited p. 59 ; M. Heinze, 
Die Lehre vom Logos, etc., Oldenburg, 1872. — Tr.] 

2 Thus the school of Rhodes, a branch of the Athenian school, 
rejected the doctrine of final conflagration. 





all in princix)le ; not to have one of them means to have 
none. A man is good in all things (a7rov8alo<;) or bad in 
all ((j>avXo^). There is no mean between virtue and vice 
(a/jidpTrjfjLa). Theoretically, there are but two classes of 
men, the good and the bad, although in reality there seem 
to be shades, transitions, and compromises between good 
and evil. Happy is the sage, who, versed in the secrets of 
nature, knows himself and others ; whom this knowledge 
frees from the guardianship of men, the times, social preju- 
dices, and the laws themselves, in so far as they are the 
products of human caprice and not of reason (6p6o<; \0709, 
KOLvo^ X0709). He alone is truly free ; he has overcome 
the world as well as his own passions. Nothing can affect 
him nor make him falter ; neither the happenings of the 
world nor the storms in his own heart. Let come what 
come may, he is resigned; for everything is decreed by 
Nature and Fate ; and Nature and Fate are synonymous 
with Reason, Providence, and good Will.^ Hence, the 
sujDreme rule which he observes in all things : sequi na- 
turam^ to follow nature, that is, the law which nature 
enjoins upon conscience, and which is identical with the 
law that governs the world (afcoXovdoD^; rrj (f>v(TeL^ Kara 
(j)V(TLV ^Tjv^ Kara Xoyov ^rjv, XoyLfco)^ ^vv)- 

It would be an easy task to point out the contradictions 
in the theories which we have just outlined, to contrast 
the moral idealism of the Stoics with the thorough-going 
realism of their ontology. But, as was said, Ave have in 
Stoicism not the system of a single individual but a col- 

^ For Stoic ethics, see Diog. L., VIT. ; Stobaeus, Eclog. ethic. II. ; 
Cicero, Be fin. ; Tuscul., etc. The writings of the later Stoics, Seneca, 
Epictetus-Arrianus, Marcus Aurelius, etc. [Ravaisson, De la morale 
des Stolciens, Pai'is, 1850 ; Fortlage, Ueher die GluckseVujheitslehre der 
Stoiker (in Seeks philosophische Vortrar/e, Jena, 1867); W. T. Jackson, 
Seneca and Kant, 1881 ; A pelt, Beitrdge zur Gesckichle der griechischen 
Philoaophie, Leipsic, 1891. — Tr.] 



lection of doctrines advanced by one and the same sect, 
a religion for the educated classes, who desired to bring 
their " new faith " into harmony with the old, a kind of 
union between virtue and the polytheistic Church, embra- 
cing the most diverse elements, but inspired with the same 
ideals. Pansetius of Rhodes ^ and Posidonius of Apamea,'^ 
the teacher of Cicero and Pompey, introduced the teach- 
ings of Stoicism into the Roman world. Owing to the 
close affinity existing between these teachings and the 
Latin and Semitic spirit, the Stoics were not long in gain- 
ing adherents. Those especially, who, on the decline of 
the Republic, battled unsuccessfully against the growing 
despotism of the Caesars, men like Cicero, Cato, and 
Brutus, found in tliis philosophy a deep source of encour- 
agement and consolation. To Stoicism we owe Cicero's 
De finihus bonorum et malorum, Seneca's ^ Moral Letters, the 
noble teachings of Epictetus which Flavins Arrianus pre- 
served in his Encheiridion, and the twelve books Ad se 
ipsum of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, one of the most 
admirable products of ancient ethics. Nevertheless, its 
influence cannot be compared with that of Christianity.* 

1 Died in the year 112 b. c. See Suidas ; Cicero, De Jinibus ; De 
officiis ; De dwinatione ; De legihus ; Seneca, Epistle 116 ; Diog. L., VII. 

2 Suidas and Diogenes Laertins. 

^ The theory has long ago been abandoned that Seneca and the 
Apostle St. Paul were on terms of f?-iendship with each other. The 
best the extreme advocates of the view that a relationship exists be- 
tween Stoicism and Paulinism can do, is to appeal to the fact that 
Chrysippus, the chief founder of Stoicism, and the Apostle St. Paul 
(who was, however, educated at Jerusalem), were born in the same 
province and perhaps in the same town. 

^ We have pointed out the distinguishing characteristics of Stoi- 
cism and Christianity in another work {De Veconomie du sahif. Mtude 
sur les rapports du dogme et de la morale^ Strasburg, 18Go). See also, 
Dourif, Du stoicisme et du christianhme consideres dans leurs rapports, 
lenrs differences, et Vivjiuence respective qu'ils ov.f exercee sur les moiurs, 
Paris, 1863. [Bryant, The Mutual Injluence of Christianity and the 
Stoic School, London, 1866 ; Capes, Stoicism, London, 1880.] 



It was confined to the world of letters and hardly pene- 
trated the masses. Stoicism has nothing to make it pop- 
ular ; it pursues the paths of science and of meditation ; it, 
too, shuns " the vulgar crowd " and is identified, in practice, 
with Epicureanism.^ 

§ 20. Sceptical Reaction. Pyrrhonism^ 

Aristotle was both a zealous theorist and an earnest 
dogmatist. Although Zeno and Epicurus cared very little 
for abstract science, they recognized its importance for life. 
According to the Stoics, who differ from the Cynics in this 
respect, science teaches us to recognize Providence in 
nature and in history, to respect its authority, and to follow 

1 [For Cicero (edition of TForfo, p. 7), see Krische, Forschungen ; 
Herbart, Ueher die Philosophic des Cicero {Works, vol. XII., pp. 167- 
182) ; Hirzel, Untersuchuntjen zii Cicero^s philosophischen Schriften^ 
3 Parts, Leipsic, 1877-83 ; Schmekel, Die Philosophic der mitderen 
Stoa, pp. 18-184 ; H. Duraiid de Laur, Mouoement de la pensee philoso- 
phique depuis Ciceron jusqu'a Tacite, V ersailles, 1874 ; for Seneca 
(edition of Works, p. 7) see : F. Chr. Baur, Seneca und Paulus, in Drei 
Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der alien Philosophic, ed. by Zeller, 1875; 
W. Ribbeck, L. A. Seneca der Philosoph, etc., Hanover, 1887; Light- 
foot, St. PauVs Episde to the Philippians, 4th ed., London, 1878. For 
Epictetus : ed. of the Aiarpi^al and 'Eyx^ipi^i-ov by Schweighauser, 
Leipsic, 1799-1800 ; Engl, transl. by T. W. Higginson, Boston, 186.5 ; 
Bonhofer, op. cit. For Marcus Aurelius : ed. of his Ta eis iavrov by 
Stich, Leipsic, 1882; Eng. tr. by G. Long; Zeller, Marcus Aurelius 
Antoninus, in Vortrdge und Abhandlungen, pp. 82-107; E. Renan, 
AT. Aurelius et la Jin du mondc antique, Paris, 1882; Watson, The Life 
of M. Aurelius, London, 1884. — Tr.] 

2 Diog. L., X., IX. ; Sextus Emp., Hypol. Pyrrh., I. ; Bitter and 
Preller, pp. 367 ff . ; [N. Maccoll, The Greek Sceptics, London and Cam- 
bridge, 1869; L. Haas, De philosophorum scepticorum successionihus, 
etc., Wiirzburg, 1875; Waddington, Pyrrho et Pyrrhonismc, Paris, 
1877; Hirzel, Untersuchungen zu Ciceros philos. Schriflen (op. cit.); 
Natorp, Forschungen (op, c«7.)] ; V. Brochard, Les sceptiqucs Grecs^ 
work crowned by the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, Paris, 
1887; [Sepp, Pyrrhonische Studien, Freising, 1893]. 



its inspirations ; according to the Epicureans, it frees us from 
superstition and the spiritualistic prejudices which destroy 
our happiness. Both schools agree that there is a criterion 
of truth. Peripatetic dogmatism is opposed by the scepti- 
cal reaction which had been inaugurated by Democritus 
and Protagoras. Pyrrho of Elis,^ a contemporary of Aris- 
totle and a friend of Alexander the Great, represents this 
movement. He, too, like the Socratics and Epicurus and 
Zeno, his younger contemporaries, desires arapa^ia ; but 
he does not believe that metaphysics can obtain it for us. 
There are, as a matter of fact, no two schools of philosophy 
that agree upon the essential problems. Hence, instead of 
procuring peace, the source of true happiness, speculation 
brings us trouble and uncertainty, and involves us in end- 
less contradictions. It is useless, because it causes disputes 
without end ; impossible, because we can, in every case, 
prove both the affirmative and the negative side {avTLXojia^ 
avTidea-L'; rwv Xoycov). The essence of things is incompre- 
hensible (aKardXrjTTTo^). Pyrrho's sage refrains from mak- 
ing dogmatic statements on either side; he suspends his 
judgment as much as possible (eVe^eii^, eVo;)^?;), and be- 
wares against taking part in heated discussions. He 
avoids absolute negation as well as categorical affirmation, 
and therefore differs from the dogmatists, who affirm 
knowledge, and the Sophists, who demonstrate its impos- 

The physician Timon,^ an admirer and friend of Pyrrho 
of Elis, published, among other sceptical writings, a satir- 
ical poem {Ol StXXot), in which he emphasizes the contra- 
dictions of the metaphysicians from Thales to the Acad- 
emician Arcesilaus. Eusebius has preserved the fragments 
of this work in his Prceparatio evangelica. His doctrine 

1 Born about 365. 

2 Mullach, Timonis Phliasii fragmenta, I., pp. 83 If. ; Wachsmuth, 
De Timone Phliasio cceterisque sillographis Greeds, Leipsic, 1859. 




may be summarized in three paragraphs : (1) The dogmatic 
philosophers cannot prove their starting-point, which there- 
fore is merely hypothetic;d ; (2) it is impossible to have an 
objective knowledge of things : we know how they affect 
us, we shall never kn(^w what they are apart from our 
intelligence and our senses ; (3) hence, in order to be 
happy, we must abandon barren speculations, and unre- 
servedly obey the law of nature. 

Pyrrhonism reminded the j^hilosophers, in a pointed way, 
that tlie problem of certitude is a fundamental one. In 
consequence of the rivalry existing between the Academy 
and the younger dogmatic Stoic school, the sceptics soon 
found themselves established in the chair of Plato. The 
first appearance of the critical problem inaugurated the age 
of reason in Greece, its reappearance after the death of 
Aristotle marks the period of decline in Hellenic philos- 

§ 21. Academic Scepticism 

The scepticism of the Academy is simply an exaggera- 
tion of the underlying princijole of this school, and, in a 
measure, a return to the original sources. Scepticism, as 
we know, formed the starting-point of Socrates and Plato. 
The names of Arcesilaus and Carneades, the founders of 
the Middle and the New Acadeni}^, are connected with this 
movement. Akcesilaus of Pitane,^ the successor of the 
scholarch Crates, returns to tlie Socratic method. He does 
not set up a system of his own, but confines his efforts 
to developing the minds of his hearers ; he teaches them 
how to think for themselves, to investigate, to separate 
truth from error. His only dogma is : to assume nothing 
unconditionally. He was at first a critical philosopher, 

1 In Aeolia, 318-244 ; Sources : Diog. L., lY. ; Sextus Emp., Hyp. 
Pyrrh., I.; Adv. mafh.,Yl'[. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 441 f£. [See also, 
Hirzel and Schrnekel, opera citata.] 



but the dogmatic opposition of Zeno drove him into the 
arms of extreme scepticism. Zeno makes clear ideas (^(pav- 
TaaCai /caTa\7]7rTL/caL^ the criterion of truth. Arcesilaus, 
however, calls attention to the many illusions in which the 
senses involve us. Socrates had said : One thing alone I 
know, and that is that I know nothing. Arcesilaus exag- 
gerates his scepticism and declares ; I do not even know 
that with certainty. He does not, however, deduce the 
* final consequences of his principle. Certainty cannot be 
reached in metaphysics, but it is possible in the domain 
of ethics, in Avhicli he agrees with the Stoics. But his 
successors are logically compelled to extend their scep- 
ticism to ethics. 

The most consistent among them is Carneades,^ who 
differs in nothing from the Sophists of the fifth century. He 
is an opponent of the Stoics in ethics and religion as well 
as in ontology and criticism. With wonderful dialectical 
skill he brings out the contradictions involved in the Stoic 
theology. The God of the Porch is the soul of the world; 
like the soul, he ]3ossesses feeling. Now a sensation is a 
modification {erepoLcoaLi:). Hence the Stoic God may be 
modified. But whatever is changeable may be changed for 
the worse ; it can perish and die. Hence the God of the 
Stoics is not eternal, their sensational God is not God. 
Moreover, as a sensible being the God of the Stoa is 
corporeal, which suffices to make him mutable. If God 
exists, Carneades goes on to state, he is either a finite or 
an infinite being. If he is finite, he forms a part of the 
whole of things, he is a part of the All and not the 
complete, total, and perfect being. If he is infinite, he 
is immutable, immovable, and without modification or 

1 215-130. Sources: Diog. L., IV.; Sextus Emp., Adv. math., 
VIT. ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 444 ff. ; Victor Brochard, op. cit. ; 
Constant Martha, Le philosophe Carneade {Revue des Deux MondeSj 
Vol. XXIX.). [See also Hirzel and Schmekel.] 




sensation; which means that he is not a living and real 
being. Hence, God cannot be conceived either as a finite 
or an infinite being. If he exists, he is either incorporeal 
or corporeal. If he has no body, he is insensible ; if he 
has a body, he is not eternal. God is virtuous or with- 
out virtue ; and what is a virtuous God but a God who 
recognizes the good as a law that is superior to his will, 
i. e., a god who is not the Supreme Being? And, on the 
other hand, would not a god without virtue be inferior to 
man ? The notion of God is therefore a contradictory one, 
however you may conceive it. 

Carneades handles the conceptions of right, duty, and 
responsibility in the same way. Upon being sent to Rome 
on a political mission, he delivered two sensational speeches, 
one in favor of justice on the first day, another against it, 
the next. There is no absolute certitude in morals any 
more than in metaphysics. In the absence of evidence, we 
must content ourselves with probability (to iridavov) in 
theory as well as in practice. 

Neo-Academic scepticism was superseded among the 
scholarchs who succeeded Carneades by a somewhat in- 
genious form of critical eclecticism, and then by a syn- 
cretism that indiscriminately combined the doctrines of 
Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, and Arcesilaus. 

§ 22. Sensationalistic Scepticism. 

Idealistic scepticism, which traces its origin to the Ele- 
atics, was opposed by sensationalistic scepticism. This form 
of scepticism, which had been taught by Protagoras, Aris- 
tippus, and Timon, was continued by a number of thinkers 
who were for the most part physicians. The invariable 
result of their investigations is that we have no criterion 
of truth, no knowledge of things-in-themselves. Arcesi- 
laus and Carneades base their arguments upon dialectics 
and the inevitable contradictions involved in it; while em- 



piristic scepticism, the type of modern positivism, appeals 
also to a series of physiological and experimental facts. In 
his eight books on Pyrrhonism^ valuable fragments of 
which have been preserved by Sextus,^ one of these doubt- 
ers, ^NESIDEMUS of Cnossus,^ develops the reasons which 
influenced Pyrrho and induced the author liimself to call 
in question the possibility of certain knowledge. These 
reasons (rpoiroi rj tottol cVo^^^t)?) are as follows : — 

(1) The differences in the organization of sensible be- 
ings, and the resulting different and sometimes contradic- 
tory impressions produced by the same objects. All things 
seem yellow to a man suffering from the jaundice. Simi- 
larly, the same object may be seen in different colors and 
in different proportions by each particular animal. 

(2) The differences in the organization of human 
beings. If all things were perceived by us in the same 
way, we should all have the same impressions, the same 
ideas, the same emotions, the same desires; which is not 
the case. 

(3) The differences in the different senses of the same 
individual. The same object may produce contrary im- 
pressions upon two different senses. A picture may 
impress the eye agreeably, the touch disagreeably ; a bird 
may please the sense of sight and have an unpleasant 
effect upon the hearing. Besides, every sensible object 
appears to us as a combination of diverse elements : an 
apple, for example, is smooth, fragrant, sweet, yellow or 
red. Now, there are two possibilities. The fruit in ques- 
tion may be a simple object, which as such has neither 

1 Sext. Emp., Hyp. Pyrrh., I., Diog. L., IX. ; Ritter and Preller, 
pp. 481 ff. ; V. Brochard, op. cit. 

2 Born in Cnossus in Crete, ^nesidemus (Alvrja-ldrjfios) probably 
lived in Alexandria at the beginning of the Christian era. [See 
Saisset, Le Scepticisme. JEnesidhne, Pascal, Kant, 2d ed., Paris, 1867 ; 
Natorp, op. cit. — Tr.]. 




s 11100 tnness nor sweetness nor color, but occasions an 
impression stci generis in each particular sense depend- 
ing upon the particular nature of the sense-organ. But it 
is also possible that the apple is quite the reverse of 
simple ; it may be still more complex than it appears to 
us ; possibly it contains an infinite number of other veiy 
essential elements, of which we have no knowledge what- 
ever, because the corresponding senses may be lacking. 

(4) The circumstances in which the sensible subject is 
placed produce infinite differences in his impressions. 
During our waking states things appear otherwise than in 
sleep ; in youth they affect us otherwise than in old age, 
in health, otherwise than in sickness, in the normal state 
of the brain, otherwise than in drunkenness. 

(5) The uncertainty of knowledge resulting from the 
position, distance, and general topical relations of objects. 
A vessel seen at a distance seems stationary ; a light burn- 
ing in broad daylight is invisible ; an elephant looks enor- 
mous near at hand, small at a certain distance ; the neck 
of a pigeon changes its color according to the observer's 
point of vision. Phenomena are, therefore, ahvays deter- 
mined by the relative position of the object and its distance ; 
and since the objects which we observe are necessarily in a 
certain position and at a certain distance, we may, indeed 
say what they are in such and such positions and at such 
and such distances, but not what they are independently of 
these relations. Experience never gives us anything but 
relative knowledge. 

(6) No sensation is pure ; foreign elements coming 
either from the external world or from ourselves are mixed 
with each. Sounds, for example, are different, according 
as the air is dense or rare. Spices emit a stronger odor in 
a room and when it is warm than in the open air and in 
the cold. Bodies are lighter in water than in air. We must 
also take into account what our own bodies and minds add 



to the sensation. We must note the influence exercised on 
sensation by the eye, its tissues and its humors : an object 
that is green to my neighbor seems blue to me. Finally, 
we must take into consideration the influence of our un- 
derstanding, the changes it may produce in the data fur- 
nished by the senses in order to convert them into ideas 
and notions. 

(7) Qualities differ according to (j^uantities. The horn 
of a goat (the whole) is black ; the detached fragments 
(the parts) are whitish. Wine taken in small quantities 
has a strengthening effect ; taken in large doses it weakens. 
Certain poisons are fatal when taken alone ; in mixtuie 
with other substances, they cure. 

(8) We perceive only phenomena and relations ; we 
never perceive the things themselves. We know what they 
are in relation to other things and ourselves ; we are 
absolutely ignorant of what they are in relation to them- 

(9) A final and one of the strongest reasons for doubt 
is the influence of habit, education, and social and religious 
environment. We are accustomed to seeing the sun and are 
therefore indifferent to it ; comets, however, are exceptional 
phenomena and consequently produce the most vivid im- 
pressions in us. We esteem what is rare ; we despise the 
common things, although the latter may have more real 
value than the former. For the Jew educated in the wor- 
ship of Jehovah, Jupiter is but an idol ; for the Greek, who 
has been taught to worship Jupiter, Jehovah is the false 
God. Had the Jew been born a Greek, and the Greek de- 
scended from the race of Abraham, the reverse would 
be true. The Jew abstains from bloody sacrifices, be- 
cause his religion commands it ; the Greek has no scruples 
whatever against the practice, because his priests find 
nothing objectionable therein. Different countries, differ- 
ent customs ! It seems as though we shall never be able 




to say what God is in himself and independently of human 
notions, or to know right and wrong as such and ax-)art from 
our conceptions. 

The same philosopher subjects the notion of causality to 
a critique ^ the essential features of which are reproduced 
by David Hume. The causal relation is, according to 
^nesidemus, inconceivable for the corporeal as well as 
for the incorporeal world. Nor can it exist between 
bodies and minds. The efficient cause of a body cannot 
be a body ; in fact, we cannot conceive how two can be 
derived from the unit, three from two, and so on. For 
the same reason, the efficient cause cannot be an imma- 
terial entity. Besides, an immaterial being can neither 
touch matter nor be touched by it, neither act upon it 
nor be acted upon by it. The material cannot produce 
the immaterial, and vice versa^ since the effect is neces- 
sarily of the same nature as the cause ; a horse never 
produces a man, and vice versa. Now, with regard to 
objects which we call causes, it must be said that only 
bodies and immaterial beings exist. Hence, there are 
no causes in the proper sense of the term. 

We reach the same conclusion in reference to motion 
and rest. Rest cannot produce motion, nor motion, rest. 
Similarly, rest cannot produce rest, nor motion, motion. 

The cause is either simultaneous with, or antecedent to, 
or consequent upon, its effect. In the first case, the effect 
may be the cause, and the cause the effect ; in the second, 
there is no effect as long as the cause acts, and there is no 
longer an acting cause as soon as the effect is produced. 
The third case is an absurd hypothesis. 

What we call a cause must act by itself or through the 
mediation of something else. On the first hypothesis the 
cause would have to act always and in all cases, which is 

* Sextus Empiricus, Adv. math., IX., 220 fE. 




disproved by experience ; on the second, the intermediate 
cause may be the cause as well as the so-called cause. 

The supposed cause possesses a single property or it pos- 
sesses several. In the former case, the supposed cause must 
always act in the same manner under all circumstances; 
which is not true. The sun, for example, sometimes burns, 
sometimes warms without burning, and sometimes illumi- 
nates the object without burning or warming it ; it hardens 
clay, tans the skin, and reddens fruits. Hence the sun has 
diverse properties. But, on the other hand, we cannot 
conceive how it can have them, because, if it had them, it 
would at once burn, and melt, and harden everything. 

The objection that the effect produced by it depends on 
the nature of the object exposed to its rays makes for scep- 
ticism. It is equivalent to a confession that the hardened 
clay and the melted wax are as much causes as the sun ; 
hence, that the real cause is the contact between the solar 
rays and the object acted upon. But the contact is exactly 
what we cannot conceive. For it is either indirect or im- 
mediate. If indirect, there is no real contact ; if direct, 
there is no contact either, but the two objects are united, 
fused, identified. 

Passive action is as incomprehensible as efficient action. 
To be passive or to suffer means to be diminished, to be 
deprived of being in a certain measure. In so far as I am 
passive, I am non-existent. Hence, to be passive means 
to be and not to be at the same time ; which is contra^ 
dictory. Furthermore, the idea of becoming involves an 
evident contradiction ; it is absurd to say that clay 
becomes hard or wax hecomes soft, for it is assuming that 
clay is hard and soft, or wax soft and hard, at the same 
moment; it amounts to saying that what is not, is, and 
what is, is not. Hence, no becoming. Hence, also, no 
causality. The impossibility of causality means that be- 
coming is impossible. 



Agrippa, another sceptic, about a century later than 
^nesidemus, also emphasizes the relative and subjective 
character of our conceptions, the discord among philo- 
sophers, their predilection for theories, their reasonings 
in a circle,^ and the fact that the syllogism cannot give 
us certain knowledge, inasmuch as every major premise 
is the conclusion of a preceding syllogism, and so on ad 
infinitum (regressus in infiniturri). 

The last and boldest of the Greek sceptics is Sextus 
Empiricus, a physician of vast learning, who lived at 
Alexandria about the year 300 A. D., and of whom we 
have two valuable works : the Pyrrhonic Hypotyposes and 
the treatise Against the Mathematicians. He turns his at- 
tention to science, which, in consequence of its self-evident 
principles, offers a final refuge to dogmatism and meta- 
physics, and maintains the uncertainty, not only of gram- 
mar, rhetoric, music, astronomy, and the philosophical 
sciences proper, but also of arithmetic and geometry, in 
which he discovers the fundamental contradiction that the 
line is both extended and composed of inextended points. 
Hence no science is certain ; everything is vague, doubt- 
ful, and contradictory, both in theory and in method ; in 
mathematics as well as in physics, in logic as well as in 
ethics. True scepticism, like Pyrrho's, does not even grant 
unconditionally that all sciences are uncertain. The cate- 
gorical assertion that metaphysics in the Peripatetic sense, 
i. e., knowledge of things-in-themselves, is impossible, 
stamps one as a dogmatist and metaphysician. This is, 
according to the Pyrrhonians, the error in the scepticism 
of the New Academy, which is but a negative dogmatism. 
The true sceptic I'efrains from making any absolute judg- 
ment whatsoever. His perfect neutrality (iTroxn) enables 

1 The Stoics, for example, proved the existence of God by the 
perfection of the world, and the perfection of the world by the 
existence of God. 



him to realize, if not a state of absolute apathy, at least 
that repose and moral equilibrium (^fxerpoirddeLa^ in which 
true happiness consists. The sceptic, like the Stoic and 
Epicurean, pursues a practical end above everything else, 
but the way to reach it is to abstain from ontology. His 
system consists in not having a system ; and should the 
fancy seize him to advance a dogma, it would be to doubt 
his own scepticism. 

But by doubting its own conclusions, radical scepticism 
abdicated in favor of Academic probabilism. 

§23. The Scientific Movement* 

While philosophy was degenerating into barren scepti- 
cism, the sciences, which had one by one cut loose from the 
parent science, o-o(/)ta, made wonderful strides in the Greek 
islands of the Mediterranean and in Egypt. Mathematics 
flourished in ^gypt at a time when Greece was still steeped 
in barbarism. Experimental science, it is true, advanced 
but very slowly. It was, like philosophy, paralyzed by the 
insane delusion that the senses are deceptive and that rea- 
son is incapable of rectifying them. Besides, the natural 
impatience of the Greeks inclined them to reasoning and 
a priori speculation rather than to the detailed and pains- 
taking labor involved in observation and experience. But 
the sciences in which reasoning plays the chief part, mathe- 
matics and matliematical phj^sics, the exact sciences, in a 
word, made rapid strides. They alone escaped the destroy- 
ing touch of universal scepticism. In sjjite of the attacks 
of empiricism, there could be no reasonable doubt of the 

1 Montucla, Histoire des sciences mathematiqiies, especially the first 
two volumes, Paris, 1758; Delambre, Histoire de Vastronomie, 7 vols., 
Paris, 1817-23 ; Draper, History of the Intellectual Development in Eu' 
rope, New York, 1863 ; Cliasles, Aper(;u historique sur Vorigine et le 
de'veloppement des methodes en geometrie, 2d ed., Paris, 1875; [Cantor, 
GeschicJite der Mathematik, I., Leipsic, 1880]. 



truth that twice two are four, and that the three angles of 
a triangle are equal to two right angles. 

In Sicily, where Pythagorean traditions had been per- 
petuated, Hicetas and Archimedes of Syracuse taught a 
system of astronomy (as early as the third century B. C.) 
that closely resembled the Copernican system. Archi- 
medes gave to physics the method of determining specific 
weights, invented the sun-glass and the endless screw, 
and created the science of mechanics by his theory of the 
lever. At the same time, a fellow-countryman of Pytha- 
goras, Aristarchus of Samos, proposed that the distance 
between the earth and the sun be measured by the dicho- 
tomy of the moon, and, what is more important, — for 
this method has proved to be impracticable, — attempted 
to substitute for the geocentric system of Aristotle the 
hypothesis that the earth revolves around the sun. This 
theory was accepted and developed by Seleucus of Seleucia 
in Babylonia, but stamped as impious by the Stoics, and 
rejected by Ptolemy himself, the most celebrated if not the 
greatest among the astronomers of Alexandria. It did not 
succeed in supplanting the old conception until the dawn 
of modern times, when it was advanced by Copernicus, 
Kepler, and GaKleo. 

On the opposite shore of the Mediterranean arose the city 
of Alexandria which was founded in the second half of 
the fourth century by the conqueror who gave it his name. 
Under the Ptolemies this became the educational as well 
as commercial centre of the world. Here rather than at the 
schools of Athens are to be found the legitimate spiritual 
descendants of Plato and Aristotle. Athens had banished 
the king of science, and its star went down forever. The 
spirit of the Stagirite descended upon his pupil, and from 
Alexander to Ptolemy and his successors. The Museum 
which they founded in the new capital of Egypt was a 
wonderful institution. Nothing in ancient or modern 



times can be compared to this attempt to organize science. 
Here scholars from every nation were entertained at public 
expense ; thousands of students flocked hither from all 
the surrounding countries. Here the naturalists found a 
botanical garden, a vast zoological collection, and an ana- 
tomical building ; the astronomers, an observatory ; the 
litterateurs^ grammarians, and philologists, a splendid li- 
brary, which contained, during the first centuries of our 
era, 700,000 volumes. Here Euclid wrote (about 290) his 
Elements of Geometry^ his treatises on Harmony^ Optics^ 
and Catoptrics ; here Eratosthenes, the royal librarian under 
Ptolemy Philadelphus, pursued his remarkable astronomi- 
cal, geographical, and historical labors ; here ApoUonius of 
Perga published his treatises on Conic Sections ; here Arys- 
tillus and Timocharus made the observations which led to 
the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes by the 
astronomer Hipparchus ; here Ptolemy wrote the Almagest 
(^/jLeyaXrj avvra^L^;'), which remained the authoritative sys- 
tem of astronomy until the time of Copernicus, and his 
Geography^ which was used in the schools of Europe for 
fourteen centuries. Ever since this epoch, the conceptions 
of the sphericity of the earth, its poles, its axis, the equator, 
the arctic and antarctic circles, the equinoctial points, the 
solstices, the inequality of climate on the earth's surface, 
have been current notions among scientists. The mechan- 
ism of the lunar phases was perfectly understood, and 
careful though not wholly successful calculations were 
made of intersidereal distances. 

On the other hand, literature and art fl.ourished under 
the careful protection of the Court. Literature and its 
history, philology and criticism, became sciences. The 
Hebrew Bible and other books of Oriental origin were 
translated into Greek. Buddhists and Jews, Greeks and 
Egyptians, mingled together, bringing with them the most 
diverse forms of religion. These conditions led to the 




development of comparative theology, on the one hand, 
and to the fusion of beliefs or a kind of religious eclec- 
ticism, on the other, and paved the way for Catholic unity. 

§ 24. Eclecticism ^ 

The scientific movement of Alexandria was suddenly 
checked in the second century by the centralizing power 
of Rome. From that time on, the Greek genius showed 
unmistakable signs of decay. Literature and art declined 
rapidly. Philosophy was suffering from the incurable dis- 
ease of scepticism. Torn from its native soil, it went to 
seed. The physical sciences remained stationary after the 
days of Galen, the physician, and the astronomer Ptolemy. 
The religion of the fathers became an object of scandal 
and derision ; while ethics, which ought to have taken the 
place of religion, wavered between the trivialities of Epi- 
cureanism and the Utopias of the Stoa; the nearer it 
seemed to approach its ideal, ataraxia^ the more the latter 
seemed to elude its grasp. In this state of senile pros- 
tration, Greek thought looked back with longing to the 
days of its creative force ; it cultivated a taste for history 
and archaeology, in a word, for the past. Sceptical even of 
scepticism and yet unable to produce anything original, it 
became eclectic and lived on its memories. The ancient 
schools, each of which but recently possessed a separate 
principle, a distinguishing characteristic, and an indivi- 
duality of its own, the Academy, the Lyceum, and the 
Stoa, after a struggle of three centuries, gradually became 
reconciled with each other and were eventually fused into 
a colorless syncretism. 

It was, however, not impotence alone that led to such 
a fusion of elements. As long as Judaism retained its 

^ Sources : Suidas, the Treatises of Philo the Jew, Plutarch, and 
Apuleius ; Eusebius, Prcep. evangelica, XL, XV., etc. 




national and exclusive form, it proved ineffective. But 
when Philo of Alexandria ^ attempted to reconcile the 
teachings of Moses and Plato, and Jesus and his apostle, 
Paul of Tarsus, divested Judaism of its national garb, 
there was no further obstacle to its progress in the Grseco- 
Roman world. Public opinion had long ago inclined 
towards monotheism. Peripateticism and Roman Stoicism 
boldly advanced it, but their teachings reached the edu- 
cated classes alone. Christianity was a religion in the 
true sense of the term. Eminently popular, it showed 
a preference for the uncultured, the poor, and the lowly, 
for all such as desired the coming of a better w^orld (/Saai- 
Xeia rod Oeov). Hence it became a formidable adversary, 
before whom it was necessary to close the ranks and firmly 
reunite the disjecta membra of ancient pliilosophy. 

Pythagoras and Plato Avere invoked against Biblical reve- 
lation ; the God of Xenophanes, Socrates, and Aristotle, 
against the God of the Jews and the Christians. The Stoic 
example was followed, and the attempt made to reconcile 
traditional polytheism with monotheism by means of the 

1 A Jewish theologian, a contemporary of Jesus, Many of his 
writings are still extant ; the majority of them are commentaries on 
the Old Testament. In order to reconcile Scripture with the philo- 
sophy of his century he had recourse to allegory, like the Stoics. His 
theory of the Xoyos (the Word, as the revelation of God, the Son of 
God, the second God) has passed into Christianity (The Gospel ac- 
cording to St. John, chap. I.). Philonis Judcei opera omnia, ed. Richter, 
4 vols., Leipsic, 1828-30 ; [P. Wendland, Neuentdeckte Fragmente 
Philos, Berlin, 1891 ; Gfrorer, Philon und die alexandrinische Theo- 
sophie, Stuttgart, 1831, 2d ed., 1835; Dahne, Geschichtliche Darsiellung 
der judisch-alexandi'inischen Religionsphilosophie, Halle, 1834 ; Wolif, 
Die philonische Philosophie, 2d ed,, Gothenburg, 1858 ; Reville, Le 
logos d^apres Philon d'Alexandrie, Geneva, 1877; M. Heinze, Die Lehre 
vom Logos, etc., Oldenburg, 1872 ; James Drummond, Philo-Judceus, 
etc., London, 1888 ; Schiirer, Geschichte des judischen Volks im Zeitalter 
Jesu Christi, 2d ed. ; Eng. trans. History of the Jewish People, etc, 5 
vols., New York,' 1891. — Tr.]. 



pantheistic conception of a supreme and unique principle, 
embodying itself in a number of secondary divinities. 
This conception passed into monotheism and found expres- 
sion in the eons of the Christian Gnostics, the sephiroth of 
the Jewish cabalists, and the hypostases of Catholic the- 
ology. In conformity with the Greek spirit and in oppo- 
sition to Christian tendencies, the times continued to 
identify the beautiful and the good, the ugly and the bad, 
metaphysical evil and moral evil. Good was ascribed to 
spirit, the formal or ideal principle, evil to matter strug- 
gling against the dominion of the Idea. Some conceived 
God as a neutral principle, superior both to mind and mat- 
ter, and yet the cause of both ; others identified him with 
the spiritual or ideal principle, meaning thereby not the 
unity of contraries but the antithesis of matter. Hence- 
forth matter is not his product or creation, but a rival prin- 
ciple co-eternal with him and equal in power. Here we 
have a more or less pronounced dualism, which exercises 
an influence on its adversaries and is reflected in the 
gnostic heresies. If God alone, it is held, is without sin, 
it is because he alone is without matter ; and if matter is 
the source of evil, then every corporeal being is sinful. 
Hence follow the necessity of sin and the obligation on 
part of the sage to mortify the body by ascetic practices 
and abstinences. The Christian belief in the resurrection 
of the flesh is opposed by the Platonic dogma of the im- 
mortality of the soul apart from the body ; creation ex 
nihilo^ by the conception of the pre-existence of souls and 
the eternity of matter. 

Nevertheless, the greatest concessions were made to the 
enemy. Provided he consented to place Orpheus, Pytha- 
goras, and Plato in the same category with Moses, Isaiah, 
and St. Paul, and recognized the thinkers of ancient Greece 
as the organs of the eternal X0709, he was offered the hand 
of friendship. All religions were held to be akin to each 




other, and conceived as products of a primitive revelation 
modified in various ways by differences in nationality. 
The most liberal thinkers, men like Moderatus, Nicoma- 
chus, and Numenius, loved to call Moses the Jewish 
Plato, and Plato the Attic Moses (Mcovarj^ uttlkl^wv). 
But with the exception of a few Christian doctors, most 
of the adversaries rejected the compromise offered by 
eclecticism. Although disposed to recognize the scat- 
tered truths in Plato, they called in question Plato's 
originality and alleged that he had di'awn them from 
the Bible. 

Greek pliilosophy found itself obliged to change its old 
methods of controversy in dealing with the arguments of 
Clnistianity. With the exception of a few Fathers of the 
Church, who were as tolerant as they were learned, the 
Christians, following the example of Judaism, recognized 
no other pliilosophy than Biblical exegesis, no other cri- 
terion of the truth of a doctrine than its agreement with 
revelation, as set forth in Scripture. Hence it was neces- 
sary to appeal to the texts or to lower one's colors to Chris- 
tianity ; arguments drawn from pure reason and discussions 
not based on the texts were no longer accepted. Hence also 
the unusual ardor with which the philosophers of the period 
studied the texts of their predecessors, particularly those of 
Plato and Aristotle. Indeed, their enthusiasm degenerated 
into a veritable fetichism of the letter, which proved to be 
no less extreme than the letterworship of their adversaries.^ 
The writings of the great Attic philosophers became a kind 
of Bible, a kind of supernatural revelation, in contents as 
well as in form. They were regarded as inimitable master- 
pieces and so greatly admired that every phrase and every 
word was considered inspired. The philologists, gram- 

1 The genuine writings of the ancient philosophers did not suffice, 
hence the OrpMcs, the Books of Hermes^ the Chaldean Oracles, etc., were 
manufactured. This is the golden age of apocryphal literature. 



marians, and critics vied with each other in their efforts 
to analyze, purify, establish, and explain the texts. They 
loved to imitate not only the mode of thought but the style 
of Plato ; indeed these form-loving Greeks valued the lat- 
ter almost as highly as the contents. Alcinous and Atticus 
wrote commentaries on Plato; Alexander of Aphrodisias 
— to mention only the most distinguished among the com- 
mentators — devoted his learning and ingenuity to the 
interpretation of Aristotle. 

Among some, literalism gave rise to the strangest super- 
stitions. Plutarch ^ of Chseronea and Apuleius,^ mistaking 
the form for the contents, the allegorical meaning for the 
real meaning, looked upon Plato as an apostle of the most 
vulgar polytheism. But, on the other hand, Ammonius 
Saccas, the founder (though otherwise little known) of the 
Neo-Platonic school of Alexandria,^ Longinus, the sup- 
posed author of the treatise On the Sublime^ Erennius, the 
successor of Ammonius, and above all Plotinus of Lyco- 
polis, penetrated more deeply into the spirit of the illus- 
trious Athenian and gave his conceptions the systematic 
and definitive form which they had hitherto lacked. In 
Neo-Platonism and particularly in the philosophy of Ploti- 
nus, the Greek mind seems to make a final serious attempt 
to formulate the result of ten centuries of reflection and to 
express its final convictions concerning God, the world, 
and the human soul. 

1 [See p. 7, note ; Ritter and Preller, pp. 507 ff. ; transl. of Morals, 
ed, by Goodwin, 5 vols., Boston, 1870; R. Voltmann, Leben, Schriften 
unci PJiilosophie des Plutarch, 2 pts., Berhn, 1872.] — Tr. 

2 [Works, ed. by Goldbacher, Vienna, 1876. See Prantl, Geschichte 
der Logik, I., pp. 578-591. — Tr.] 

8 [Ritter and Preller, pp. 517 ff . ; Matter, Sur I'ecole d'Alexandrie, 
Paris, 1820, 2d ed., 1840-48]; Jules Simon, Histoire de I'ecole d'Alex- 
andrie, 2 vols., 1844-1845 ; Vacherot, Histoire critique de Vecole d'Alex- 
andrie, 3 vols. Paris, 1846-51. 



§ 25. Plotinus and Neo-Platonism 

Plotikus ^ of Lycopolis in Egypt, a disciple of Ammo- 
nius Saccas of Alexandiia, came to Rome about 244, and 
taught philosophy for twenty-five years. The school which 
he founded in that city included men from every country 
and every station in life : physicians, rhetoricians, poets, 
senators, nay, even an emperor and an empress, Gallienus 
and Salonina. It became the centre of what remained of 
Pagan philosophy, science, and literature. Countless com- 
mentaries were written on the Attic philosophers ; they 
were even worshipped as Jesus, the apostles, and the 
martyrs were worshipped by the Christian community, 
which had in the meanwhile become large and influential. 
Plotinus, who wrote nothing until he was fifty years old, 
left fifty-four treatises at the time of his death (270). 
These his disciple Porphyry published in six Enneads or 
series of nine writings each. 

The fundamental conception of this important work is 
emanatistic pantheism. It looks upon the world as an 
overflow^ as a diffusion of the divine life, and upon its 
re-absorption in God as the final goal of existence. The 
stages in the overflow are ; spirituality, animality, and cor- 
poreality ; of re-absorption : sensible perception, reasoning, 
mystical intuition. Let us consider, with the author, 
(1) the principle, and (2) the three stages in the hierarchy 
of beings. 

1 [Complete edition of the Works of Plotinus with the Latin trans- 
lation of Marsilius Ficiniis, published by Wyttenbach, Moser, and 
Creuzer, 3 quarto vols., Oxford, 1835; by Creuzer and Moser, Paris, 
1855 ; by A. Kirchhoff, Leipsic, 1856. Ritter and Preller, pp. 517 ft. 
Engl, ti-ansl. of parts by Th. Taylor, London, 1787, 1794, 1817; 
French transl. and commentary by Bouillet, 3 vols., Paris, 1856-60. 
See C. H. Kirchner, Die Philosophie des Plotin, Halle, 1854; A. Richter, 
Neuplatonische Studien, 5 pts., Halle, 1864-67 ; Harnack, Article in 
Encyclopedia Britannica, on Neo-Platonism; Walter, Geschichte der Acs- 
thetik in Alterthum, pp. 736-786.] — Tr. 



I. God. — Every being is composed of matter and form. 
God (the One, the Form) and matter (yXr]^ are the consti- 
tutive principles, and, as it were, the two j^oles of the uni- 
verse. God is the hvva^xL^ which produces everything, the 
active power; matter, the Svva/JLL<; which suffers everything, 
becomes everything, and is infinitely modified ; it is the 
opposite of the absolute ivepyeia. However, though mat- 
ter takes on form, it does not, according to Plotinus, 
constitute an absolute antithesis; there is, in the last 
analysis, but one supreme principle ; Form, Unity, or 

Divine unity is not a numerical unity. The unity of 
number presupposes the two, the three, and so on, while 
the divine unity is equal to infinity and contains every- 
thing. It is not divisible like the numerical unity with its 
endless fractions ; it transcends our conception ; it is the 
miracle of miracles. It produces all things and is pro- 
duced by none ; it is the source of all beauty, without being 
beautiful itself, the source of all form, without having 
any form itself, the source of all thought and intelligence, 
without being a thinking and intelligent being itself, the 
principle, the measure, and the end of all things (iravrcov 
fjLerpov Kol 7repa<y^^ without itself being a thing in the proper 
sense of the term. It is pure thought, the source of every 
concrete thought, the pure light which makes us see all 
things, and which consequently we do not, ordinarily, dis- 
tinguish from the things themselves ; it is the principle 
of goodness, the highest good, without being good, like a 
creature participating in goodness. It has neither good- 
ness nor beauty nor intelligence, but is goodness, beauty, 
and thought itself. To attribute inner perception to God 
and to make an individual being of him, means to diminish 
him. Self-consciousness has value for us ; it would have 
none for God. What is obscure seeks for light by means 
of vision ; but has light itself any need of sight ? Not that 



the Supreme Being is unconscious or blind like a stone 
or plant ; he transcends the unconscious as well as the 
conscious ; the opposition between the conscious and un- 
conscious does not exist for God. Nor has he a will in 
the human sense of the term ; he does not strive for any 
good ; he does not desire anything but himself, because 
there is nothing desirable outside of liim ; he is peace, rest, 
and supreme content. He is neither free, as souls are, nor 
determined, like bodies ; he is superior to free-will, Avhich 
wavers between opposing notions, and to corporeal beings, 
which are impelled by a foreign power. Inasmuch as every 
quality assigned to him limits him, we must refrain from 
giving him attributes ; he is both everything and nothing 
imaginable. To attribute or to give to him any tiling what- 
ever, means to deprive liim of it. 

Hence Plotinus is obliged to confess that the attributes 
which he himself had ascribed to God (the One, the Good, 
pure Thought, pure Actuality) are inadequate. All we can 
say of God is that he transcends everything that can be con- 
ceived and said. Strictly speaking, we cannot even affirm 
that he exists^ for he transcends existence itself. He is the 
highest abstraction, and we cannot reach him except by 
means of an absolute and radical abstraction. We cannot 
even conceive Ideas without abstracting from the sensible 
data ; now, since God is as far superior to Ideas as these 
are to sensible things, we must, in order to reach God, ab- 
stract from all Ideas. After thought has arrived at this 
height, it must push away the ladder which helped it rise, 
and abandon itself to meditation ; it becomes contemplation 
or adoration. To attempt to define God either in thought 
or in language means to lose him. 

Plato's God is superior to being, ^ but not to the Idea; 
he is the king of Ideas and the Idea as such ; he is acces- 
sible to reason. The God of Neo-Platonism is superior 
1 Repuh., VL, 509. 



even to the Idea,^ and therefore eludes thought (iireKeiva 
voTjaeo)^^. Consequently, there is an undeniable difference 
between the two systems. We have no right, however, 
to exaggerate this difference and to bring Plotinus the 
mystic in opposition with Plato the rationalist. The hu- 
man mind can, according to Plotinus, be united with the 
absolute, only after it has performed diligent intellectual 
labor and has previously passed through all the interven- 
ing stages between vulgar opinion (Sofa) and philosophical 
knowledge Qyvo)cn<i), Although he holds that thought 
cannot penetrate into the sanctuary, he considers it as an 
indispensable means of carrying us to the threshold of the 
temple ; and though he discharges his guide upon arriving 
at the goal, it is not because he disdains him. On the 
other hand, as we have seen, Plato's philosojjhy contains 
all the elements of what has been called Alexandrian 
mysticism : intellectual love, enthusiasm, the sage's delight 
in the world of ideas 

The universe emanates from the absolute as light eman- 
ates from the sun ; as heat, from fire ; the conclusion, from 
the axiom. God is goodness, the Father who desires that 
all things should exist.^ But there is a vague or conscious 
desire in all things that emanate from him to return to him 
(eirLaTpo(\)rf). Everything is attracted to him and desires 
to approach him. Individuality is not the final form of 
existence ; it is merely the passage from God, the principle 
of things, to God, their ideal goal ; from God, the infinite 
Swa/xt?, to God, the absolute ivepyeia. If the world is a 

1 Plotinus, it must be added, is not always consistent. Like his 
modern imitator, ScheUing, he regards God, sometimes as the unity 
which is superior to all contrasts and therefore to the contrast be- 
tween matter and mind, sometimes as spirit in opposition to body. 
The latter conception dominates his moral system. Asceticism and 
the nirvana are the natural consequences of the view. 

2 Enneads, I., 8, 2 ; III., 9, 3 ; V., 3-5. 
^ Timceus, 29 E. 



system of harmony, it is because all things converge toward 
the same absolute. The retimi of being to its divine source 
is made possible through thought, contemplation, intuition 
{Qewpia)^ which alone gives the soul the supreme satisfac- 
tion which it demands. To perceive, to see, to contem- 
plate, is the goal of all action, of all striving, of all 
movement. Each man seeks for the absolute in his own 
manner. There are meditative natures and practical na- 
tures ; but the former are, according to Plotinus, superior 
to the latter. Both aspire to the same goal. The former, 
however, seek to reach it by the most direct way, i. e., by 
thought ; the latter, by endless meanderings ; for action is 
an aberration of thought and denotes a relative weakness 
of the understanding (aadeveia OewpCa^'). Contemplation is 
not only the final goal of life, but life itself {eic Oecopla^^ Kal 
Oecopta iaTi}. Animals, plants, nay, everything in exist- 
ence are endowed with perception. Since all life is ulti- 
mately reduced to thought, and since God is the creator 
of all things, we may say with Aristotle (qualifying the 
statement as above), that God is pure thought, having no 
other object than himself, the principle of intelligence, or 
the power of intuition which makes us see all things with- 
out seeing itself. 

II. The Three Stages of Being. 1. Intelligence. — 
Intelligence is the first divine emanation and therefore the 
greatest thing in the world ; the succeeding emanations 
are more and more imperfect. Creation is a fall, a pro- 
gressive degeneration of the divine. In the intelligence, 
the absolute unity of God splits up into intelligence proper 
(i^oO?) and the intelligible world (/coVyLto? z/ot^to?), subject 
and object (to use the modern expressions). However, the 
intelligence is, as compared to bodies, almost an absolute 
unity; at any rate, the intelligible world and the reason 
contemplating it are not, as yet, separated either in time or 
in space ; the vov<> and the K6ap,o<i voi^t6'=; are in each other. 



The Ideas are immanent in the intellect which conceives 
them ; the intellect is inseparable from the Ideas. 

The passage of the divine unity into this first duality, 
the liow of the emanation, is as much of a mystery as God 
himself. Whatever rational explanation might be given, it 
would still be insufficient. If the dyad, it has been said, 
comes from the monad, then the latter contains the former 
in germ. But that would make the monad a dyad and not 
a monad in the absolute sense. Others identify the One 
and the All. But if God is only the sum of existing 
things, then he is a mere word used to designate the result 
of an addition, and not the supremely real principle from 
which the things are derived. God is anterior to the All 
(iTpo irdvTwv)^ in dignity if not in time. Still, we may 
call him irav^ in so far as he is the essence of everything 
in existence. An attempt has been made to explain ema- 
nation by calling it a partition of the oiiginal unity. But 
the divine unity, which is not a numerical unity, is indivi- 
sible. It has been compared with the gleaming of a bright 
body (TreptXa/Lt-v/rt?), with the radiation of the sun, with a 
cup that eternally overflows, because its contents are in- 
finite and cannot be held in it. However beautiful these 
figures may be, they are taken from the material world and 
cannot explain the immaterial. Hence, emanation is in 
reality a miracle (Oavfjua)^ like God himself. 

There are two kinds of Ideas ^ : (1) genera (7eV?;), or 
general forms of all existing things, viz., being (6V), iden- 
tity (rauTOT???), difference (eTe/90T7;9), rest (o-racrt?), motion 
(/ctV?;o-t?), and (2) specific types of individual beings {elhrj)?' 
We may conceive all genera as modifications of the only 
being, and all specific types as comprehended in a single 
being: the universal Type, or the Idea of the universe 
(acoV/i-o? votjto^;). Everything that exists in the visible 
world has its corresponding Idea or prototype in the in- 
1 Enneads, VL, 1-3. » /^.^ yi., 2, 8. 




telligible world. Not only the Idea of man, but Ideas of 
Socrates, Plato, and so on, exist ; that is to say, there are 
as many Ideas as individuals. Each one of us realizes a 
distinct Idea. Hence the Idea is not the species resolving 
itself into a number of passing individuals ; it is the in- 
dividual considered as eternal. From the fact that there 
are as many Ideas as individuals, it does not follow that 
the number of Ideas is unlimited. Though the number of 
existing individuals is infinite for oui* imagination, it is not 
actually infinite ; if it were so, the universe would not be 
a perfect being, i. e., perfect in the Greek sense (^a>ov irav- 
reXe?). So, too, a fixed and unchangeable number of Ideas 
or types of individuals exist in the intelligence, the creation 
of God. 

2. The Soul, — The intelligence, too, is creative, like 
the absolute whence it emanates, but its productive power 
is less. Its emanation or radiation is the soul C'^v^ri}-} 
which is like the vov<; but inferior to it. The fact is, 
reason finds its Ideas in itself ; they are its immanent 
possession and substance, while the soul must search for 
them or ascend to them by reflection {pidvoLa)^ and there- 
fore reaches, not the Ideas themselves, but their more or 
less adequate images, the simple notions (Xoyoi). The soul 
is not, like the intellect, endowed with immediate and 
complete intuition ; it is restricted to discursive thought, 
or analysis. 

It is subordinate to the intellect, and therefore strives 
towards it as reason itself strives towards God. Its mis- 
sion is to become what the intellect is a priori ; that is, 
intelligent (yoepd). Just as there is but one absolute, one 
reason, and one intelligible world, so there is, at the bottom 
of all individual souls, but one single soul manifesting 
itself in infinitely different forms : the soul of the world 
{^^XV '^0^ Koafiov). Like the z^oO?, which contemplates 
^ Enneads, IV. 



the absolute and also produces the '^f;^^, the soul has 
two functions, one of which is to contemplate and look 
inward, where it finds the Ideas and the absolute, while 
the other is expansive and creative. Its emanation, which 
is less perfect than itself, is the body.^ 

3. The Body. — Though the body is far removed from the 
source of all things (God is the One, the body, the greatest 
plurality), it bears the stamp of the absolute. The intel- 
lect has its Ideas ; the soul, its notions ; the body, its 
forms. Through these the body still belongs to the higher 
spheres of being : they are to the body what perceptions 
are to the soul, what Ideas are to reason : a reflection of 
the absolute, a trace of the divine. The form of bodies 
represents what reality they have ; their matter, what 
they lack of reality ; their form is their being ; their mat- 
ter their non-being. Corporeal nature (cj)vaL<;) fluctuates 
between being and non-being ; it is eternal becoming, and 
everything in it is in perpetual change. 

After the world of bodies comes pure matter, or non- 
being, an obscure and bottomless abyss (ajreLpov), as it 
were, into which the ideal world projects its rays. Mat- 
ter is not body, for every body is composed of matter and 
form ; it is but the substratum, the principle of its inertia ; 
it has neither form, nor dimension, nor color, nor anything 
that characterizes the body; all these qualities proceed 
from the formal principle, the absolute ; it has no other 
attribute than privation (areprjo-L^). Since all force and 
life has its source in the intellect and in God, matter is 
impotence, boundless indigence, the negation of unity, the 
cause of the infinite multitude of bodies, incoherence, dif- 
fusion, the absolute absence of form, i. e., ugliness itself ; 
the absence of the good, i. e., evil itself.^ From the stand- 
point of Plotinus as well as of Hellenism in general, unity, 
form, intelligence, beauty, and goodness are synonymous 
1 Enneads, III. 2 /^.^ pi. 




terms, as are also, on tlie other hand, plurality, matter, 
ugliness, and evil. 

It must not be understood that he considers matter and 
evil as non-existent. To assume that he denies the exist- 
ence of matter and of evil would be equivalent to making 
him say that poverty is the absence of wealth and there- 
fore nothing, that it does not exist, and, consequently, that 
charity is useless. Matter is so great a reality that its in- 
fluence is exercised, not only upon the corporeal sphere, 
but also upon the soul and upon reason itself. We have 
seen that the body still, though vaguely, resembles the 
mind, because of the form which it assumes and which is 
nothing but an embodied Idea. Conversely, we shall say, 
however superior the mind may be to corporeal nature, it 
is not ahsolutely immaterial. Matter exists in the mind, 
though in another form than in nature ; i. e., as the notion of 
matter (yXr) vorjrr)), intelligibly, in the conceptual state, not 
corporeally. But more than that ; not only is matter in the 
mind in so far as the mind conceives it ; it is mingled with 
every one of its thoughts, indissolubly connected with all 
its conceptions. Without matter, the mind would not be 
distinct from the absolute. In fact, God alone is unity 
in the absolute sense ; the intellect is not unity in the 
same sense ; in it unity expands into a plurality of Ideas, 
which are distinct from one another, although they are 
perceived by one and the same intellectual intuition. It 
is true, the Ideas in our mind are not separated corporeally ; 
but it is also certain that the mind contains them as plurali- 
ties. Now, matter is the very principle of plurality. Hence 
it lies at the very basis of the intellect, which, without it, 
would be swallowed up in the absolute unity of God. 

In order to understand this paradox, which is essentially 
Platonic, it must be remembered that the matter of Plato, 
Aristotle, and Plotinus, is not the matter of the material- 
ists, but what Schelling and Schopenhauer would call 



will^ or the will-to-be ; it is not body, but the transcendent 
substratum^ the ])rinciple of corporeality, that which makes 
the body a body, but is itself an incorporeal thing like the 
mind. It even transcends the intelligence ; it rises above 
it like an impenetrable mystery that defies the reason even 
of the gods. Moreover, Plotinus does not place matter 
among the genera ; he places it beyond the world of Ideas 
in the supra-intelligible realm which reason cannot reach, 
although we may recognize the Idea of matter in the ideas 
of otherness and movement. If we call what can be the 
object of intelligence, what the intelligence can define, 
comprehend, or embrace under an exact formula, "intelli- 
gible," then matter is evidently not intelligible ; for it is 
the opposite of form; it resists all limitation and conse- 
quently all comprehension. To comprehend matter is to 
see darkness ; to see darkness is to see nothing ; hence, to 
comprehend matter is to comprehend nothing. 

Is matter a second absolute ? One is sometimes tempted 
to regard Plotinus as a decided dualist ; his system of 
ethics, especially, lays itself open to the charge of dual- 
ism. But the metaphysician cannot assume two absolutes. 
Plotinus, therefore, recalling the statement of Aristotle 
that the first matter and the first form are identical,^ con- 
ceives the supra-intelligent matter, or, in other terms, the 
first cause of bodies, as identical with God. Matter, which 
Platonism loves to call the infinite, is, in the last analysis, 
nothing but infinite potentiality, unlimited productivity, 
the creative power of God. The highest ivepyeia is also 
the highest hvvaiii<^. Plow is that possible ? The question 
is the same as the one raised above : How can plurality 
emanate from divine unity ? How can we explain emana- 
tion, creation ? That is a mystery. 

III. Ethics. — The soul, which is intermediate between 
the intellect and the body, contains elements of both, and 

1 Metaphysics, VIII., 6, 19. 



is an epitome of the universe. It is, as it were, tlie meet- 
ing place of all cosmical powers. Logical necessity reigns 
in the intellectual sphere ; physical necessity, in the world 
of bodies. The soul is the seat of the free will. It is sub- 
ject to the allurements of the body and those of tlie intel- 
lect. It may therefore turn towards reason and live 
a purely intellectual life, but it may also turn towards 
matter, fall, and become embodied in a low and earthly 
body.i Hence, there are tlnee kinds of souls : (1) souls 
which live for reason and for God, or divine souls ; (2) souls 
which waver between mind and body, heaven and earth : 
demons, or geniuses which are partly good and partly bad ; 
(3) souls which dwell in matter and inhabit base bodies. 
The heavenly souls, like tlie soul of the world itself, are 
supremely happy. Their happiness consists in their ap- 
athy^ in their obedience to divine reason, and in the con- 
templation of the absolute. Their bodies consist wholly 
of light, and have nothing material in them, using this 
term in the sense of terrestrial? Eternally perfect and 
always the same, they have neither memory nor prevision, 
neither hope nor regret ; for only such beings have mem- 
ory and hope as change their conditions, be it for better 
or for worse. They are not even, like the human soul, 
conscious of themselves ; they are absorbed in the con- 
templation of Ideas and of the absolute. It is this un- 
consciousness, this exclusive aj^perception of divine things, 
which constitutes their supreme happiness. 

Human souls were not always enclosed in base bodies ; 
they were at first heavenly souls, conscious of God alone 
and not of themselves ; but they separated their lives from 
the universal life, in order to become selfish individuals 
and to assume vulgar bodies, which isolate them from each 
other. The assumption of an earthly body is a fall for 

1 Enneads, IL, 3, 9; III., 5, 6 ; IV., 3, 8. 

2 Cf. St. Paul, First Letter to the Corinthians, XY., 40. 




which the miseries of our present existence are the just 
punishment.^ It was a free act, in so far as no power out- 
side of us forced us to do it ; a necessary act, in so far as 
our own nature determined it. Every man is the author 
of his fate, and, conversely, his fate depends upon his in- 
dividual character. True, we choose only the fate which 
we can choose, but we choose this simply because we do 
not desire anything else. 

Moreover (and here we note a difference between Neo- 
Platonism and modern pessimism in favor of the former), 
incarnation is but a relative misfortune and even a bless- 
ing, provided the soul descends into matter merely in order 
to transform it, and ascends heavenwards as soon as pos- 
sible. Nay, the soul profits by its contact with the body, 
for it thereby not only learns to recognize evil but also 
to exercise its hidden powers, to produce Avorks which it 
would otherwise not have been able to accomplish. Fur- 
thermore, though closely connected with the body, it re- 
mains separate from it. This is proved by the fact that, 
instead of assisting our aspirations towards the ideal world 
the body opposes them, and that the philosopher welcomes 
death.2 The human soul is like the Olympus whose sum- 
mit is steeped in azure while its sides are beaten by the 
storm ; it is not confounded with the body, but escapes its 
bondage by means of the intelligence, its better part. 

The ethical system of Plotinus reminds us of Plato and 
Stoicism. The end of human life is the purification of the 
soul and its gradual assimilation with the divinity. Three 
roads lead to God:^ music (art), love, and philosophy; 
three paths, or rather a single one with three stages. The 
artist seeks for the Idea in its sensible manifestations ; the 
lover seeks for it in the human soul ; the philosopher, 

1 Cf. p. 46, note 2. 

2 Cf. St. Paul, Epistle to the PJiilippians, I., 23. 
' Enneads, T., 8. 


finally, seeks for it in the sphere in which it dwells without 
alloy, — in the intelligible world and in God. The man who 
has tasted the delights of meditation and contemplation 
foregoes both art and love. The traveller who has beheld 
and admired a royal palace forgets the beauty of the apart- 
ments when he perceives the sovereign. For the philoso- 
pher, beauty in art, nay, living beauty itself, is but a pale 
reflection of absolute beauty. He despises the body and its 
pleasures in order to concentrate all his thoughts upon the 
only thing that endures forever. The joys of the philoso- 
pher are unspeakable. These joys make him forget, not 
only the earth, but liis own individuality ; he is lost in the 
pure intuition of the absolute. His rapture is a union 
(eWo-t?) of the human soul with the divine intellect, an 
ecstasy, a flight of the soul to its heavenly home.^ As 
long as he lives in the body, the philosopher enjoys this 
vision of God only for certain short moments, — Plotinus 
had four such transports, — but what is the exception in 
this life will be the rule and the normal state of the soul 
in the life to come. Death, it is true, is not a direct pas- 
sage to a state of perfection. The soul which is purified 
by philosophy here below, continues to be purified beyond 
the grave until it is divested of individuality itself, the 
last vestige of its earthly bondage.^ 

§ 26. The Last Neo-Platonic Polytheists. Porphyry, 
Jamblichus, Proclus 

1. Plotinus was succeeded in the Neo-Platonic school at 
Rome by his friend Malchus or Porphyry,^ a native Phoe- 
nician, who published the Enneads. Porphyry is still more 
convinced than his master of the identity of the doctrines 
of the Academy and the Lyceum. Although much inferior 
to Plotinus, on whom his teachings essentially depend, he, 

1 Enneads, Y., 5, 10. 2 jd., IV., 3, 32. 3 Died at Rome, 301. 



nevertheless, exercised an influence on the progress of phi- 
losophy during the following centuries, because of the clear- 
ness with which he set forth the j)roblem of universals in 
his Introduction to the Categories of Aristotle} Indeed, the 
question whether genera and species are realities apart 
from the thought Avhich conceives them, foims the chief 
topic of interest during the Middle Ages. 

Neo-Platonism changes in character towards the end of 
the fourth century Avithout essentially modifying its prin- 
ciples. Plotinus and Porphyry, who antedate the reign 
of Constantine and the ultimate triumph of Christianity, 
are outspoken opponents of superstition, like all the great 
thinkers since the days of Xeno2:)lianes. But among their 
successors the search for truth is gradually subordinated to 
the interests of religion and apologetics. After ten cent- 
uries of opposition against traditional religion, philosophy 
became alarmed at its work of destruction ; it came to the 
conclusion that its stubborn opposition had simply advanced 
the cause of a religion that was foreign to the Greek spirit 
and hostile to classic culture, and that its official repre- 
sentatives would be a thousand times more intolerant than 
the Greek and Roman priesthood. Thus it happened that 
philosophy, the sworn enemy of the popular faith, became 
the palladium of the persecuted gods ; she became ancilla 
Pantliei^ prior to becoming ancilla Ecclesice. To promote 

1 PorpTiyrii de quinque vocihus, sive in categorias A ristotelis iniroductio 
(daaycoyr)), Paris, 1543 ; Latin translation, Venice, 1546, 1566. We also 
have of Porphyry a Life of Protagoras, a Life of Plotinus, and an 
Epistle to Anebo (fragments collected by Gale, Oxford, 1678), etc. Sev- 
eral of his treatises, the most important perhaps, are lost. Sources : 
Suidas; Eunapius, Vita Soph.; Augustine, De civitate Dei, X.; the 
De Mysteriis JEgyptiorum, ascribed to Jamblichus ; [Ritter and Preller, 
pp. 541 ff.] ; N. Bouillet, Porphyre, son role dans Vecole neoplatonicienne, 
etc., Paris, 1864; Adrien Naville, /wZfe/i V Apostat etla philosopMe du 
polytheisme, Paris and Neuchatel, 1877. See, besides, the works quoted 
on p. 166. 



polytlieism, to promote it at all hazards : such was the 
desperate task undertaken by her. Henceforth she re- 
gards everything in paganism as good; she not only 
excuses and tolerates the strangest superstitions, the ex- 
orcism of spirits, the practices of sorcery, magic, and the- 
urgy, but even commends them and practises them Avith 
feverish zeal. The Greek mind literally lapses into its 
second childhood. 

The death-struggle is, however, broken by lucid mo- 
ments. Among the few surviving defenders of the dying 
polytheistic faith we must mention two men who, though 
compromising with paganism and pompously assuming the 
title of hierophants, bring the history of ancient philosophy 
to a brilliant close. I mean Jamblichus of Chalcis in 
Coelesyria (died about 330), the most distinguished cham- 
pion of what we call Syrian Neo-Platonism (in order to 
distinguish this ultra-mystical movement from the pliilos- 
ophy of Plotinus, which is still profoundly Greek), and 
Proclus of Byzantium (412-485), who taught at Athens 
and occupied a position between the school of Rome and 
Jamblichus, of whom he was an enthusiastic admirer. 

2. Jamblichus ^ di-aws his inspiration from the specula- 
tions of non-Christian literature, from P5rthagoras, Plato, 
the religious traditions of the Orient and Egypt, and 
especially from his sacred triple ternary. Plis mathemati- 
cal genius and brilliant imagination enable him to under- 
take a philosophical reconstruction of the pagan Pantheon. 
The gods emanate from the depths of the unspeakable 
unity in ternary series, and form a triple halo, as it were, 

^ De vita PytJiagorce ; Protrepticce orationes ad philosophiam ; De 
mysteriis jEgptiorum (Greek and Latin ed. by Th. Gale, Oxford, 
1678 ; by G. Parthey, Berlin, 1857). Other sources : Pj-ocIus, In 
Timceum; Suidas ; [Patter and Preller, pp. 546 ff.]; Hebenstreit, De 
Jamblichi, pMlosophi Syri, doctrina, etc., Leipsic, 1764. [Engl. tr. of 
Life of Pythagoras, by Taylor, London, 1818; Egyptian Mysteries, 
Chiswick, 1821.] 



around the Monad of monads. He opposes the Christian 
conception of the God-man and exaggerates the theological 
spiritualism of Plotinus by declaring the absolute to be 
nori-communicahle (a/jLeOe/cTo^). The Supreme God is not 
only divested of all intelligence, but of all qualities what- 
soever. Hence the real beings do not participate in the 
absolute unity but in the secondary unities (ez^aSe?) eman- 
ating from it. These beings are also transcendent (virep- 
ovaim)^ but plural. This hierarchy of derived gods is 
divided into three stages : intellectual gods (voepol), supra- 
mundane gods (vTrepKoafjLLOL}, and the immanent gods of 
the world (e^yKoaixioi). We come into communication 
only with these gods (the Ideas of Plato, the Numbers of 
Pjrthagoras, the substantial Forms of Aristotle) ; they are 
our Providence. The absolute has no share in the gover- 
nance of things. 

3. Pkoclus 1 derives the priestly characteristics of his 
philosophy from Jamblichus, and his systematic and schol- 
astic tendencies from Plotinus. He bases his system on 
the triple triad of Jamblichus, and deduces from the abso- 
lute and non-communicable (a^te^e/cro?) unity: first, being 
(6V), i. e., the infinite {aireipov)^ the end or form (irepa^)^ and 
their unity, the finite (jjllictov, Treirepao-fievov) : secondly, 
life (^wrj)^ i. e., potentiality (hvvapn^)^ existence (uTra/aft?), 
and their unity, intelligible life (Xcor] vor^rrf) ; thirdly, intel- 
ligence (i^oi)?), i. e., static thought (/xeVetz^), thought in 
motion or perception (irpoievai)^ and their unity, reflective 

1 Works of Proclus : In theologiam Platonis, libri VI. ; Institutio tlieo- 
logica ; In Platonis Timceurn, etc. Prodi opera omnia, ed. V. Cousin, 
Paris, 1819-27, 2d ed. in 6 vols., 1864 ; [Ritter and Preller, pp. 556 if.]. 
See on Proclus: Marinus, Vita Prodi; Suidas ; Berger, Pi'odus, expo- 
sition de sa dodrine, Paris, 1840 ; J. Simon, Du Commentaire de Produs 
sur le Timee de Platon, Paris, 1839; C. H. Kirchner, De Prodi neo- 
platonici metaphysica, Berlin, 1846. See also concerning Jamblichus 
and Proclus the histories of the Alexandrian school mentioned on 
page 166. 



thought (^eTTLarpocprj). Each of these three triads^ reveals 
to those initiated into philosophy (^/jLuarLKm^ one of the 
aspects of the first and supra-intelligible cause : first, his 
unspeakable unity ; secondly, his inexhaustible fertility 
(Jjirepoxn) ; thirdly, his infinite perfection. These are the 
emanations of the absolute. The absolute in itself is 
superior to being and even to thought, as the principle is 
superior to its consequence and the cause to its effect, and 
therefore forever unknowable. Whatever is supernatural 
in its essence can be reached only by supernatural means ; 
theurgy 2 alone can reveal it to the initiated. Knowledge 
is confined to the intelligiljle sphere and needs the realities 
of religion in order to attain to the supra-intelligible. 

This is, in language freed from senile pedantry, the last 
word of Neo-Platonic metaphysics, " the last will and testa- 
ment " of antique thought. From the ontological point of 
view and compared with primitive Platonism, Neo-Pla- 
tonism would be an advance in the monistic direction, if it 
had been content to subordinate the Idea to a higher prin- 
ciple containing both being and thought.^ But its oppo- 
sition to Christianity, the fundamental dogma ^ of which 
assumes the commimicability of the divine, impelled it 
wantonly to exaggerate the transcendency of this supreme 
principle ; which was precisely the chief defect of Platon- 
ism. And how much inferior it is to Platonism from the 
ethical and religious point of view ! Proclus looks upon 
the practice of magic as the essence of religion ; for Plato 
religion means the practice of justice. There is as great a 
difference between these two conceptions as between ma- 
ture, enlightened, and vigorous manhood and decrepit and 
superstitious old age. 

1 Cf. the triple triad in the system of Hegel. 

^ Qeovpyia, epyov tov Oeov, manifestation of the divine power. 

2 The will of concrete spiritualism. 
* The dogma of the incarnation. 



In 529 the last refuge of polytheistic Neo-Platonism, the 
school at Athens where Proclus had taught,^ was closed by 
order of the Emperor Justinian. The public manifested 
such indifference towards these ruins of the past, that the 
edict was scarcely noticed. Christianity had taken pos- 
session of the empire two centuries ago ; the concrete and 
thrilling questions of religion, which is a product of the 
will, and the troubles caused by the invasions of the bar- 
barians, superseded the serene and peaceful decopia. 

^ The last scholarchs are : Marinus of Flavia Neapolis in Pales- 
tine, the successor of Proclus, Isidore of Alexandria, and Zeno- 
dotus and Damascius of Damas (Qucestiones de primis principiis, ed. 
Kopp, Francf., 1826). The school was closed while the latter was 
at its head. With the school of Athens is connected the name of the 
Cilician Simplicius, the excellent commentator of Epictetus and Aris- 
totle (Categories, De anima, De coelo, and Physics), who was a fellow- 
student and afterwards a pupil and companion in exile of Damascius. 




§ 27. Christian Platonism ^ 

The breath of expiring Hellenism passed into Chris- 
tianity. The doctrines of Plato and his latest interpreters 
continued to influence the ablest thinkers among the fol- 
lowers of the Gosj^el, and the philosophy of the Church 
during the entire Middle Ages merely re-echoes the teach- 
ings of the great Athenian philosophers. 

In the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria, where the Greek 
mind came in contact with the Semitic genius, there was 

^ For Patristic speculation, consult the general histories of philo- 
sophy, the Church histories, and the works mentioned on page 10 ; 
[Collection of the works of the Fathers, Patrum Apostolicorum Opera^ 
ed. by O. de Gerhardt, A. Harnack, and Th. Zahn, Leipsic, 1875 ft". ; 
Eng. trans., Library of Nicene and Post-Mcene Fathers, ed. Schaff 
and Wace; Mdller, Lehrhuch der Kirchengeschichte (vol. I., Die alte 
KircJie, Freiburg, i. B., 1889) ; A. Harnack, Geschichte der altchrist- 
lichen Litteratur his Eusebius, Part I., Leipsic, 1893. — Tr.] For the 
systems classified under heretical Gnosdcii^m, see [Neander, Gene- 
tische Entwickelung der vornelimsten gnostischen Systeme, Berlin, 1818 ; 
Engl. tr. by Torrey, Boston, 1865] ; J. Matter, Histoire critique du 
gnosticisme, 3 vols., Paris, 1823 ; 2d ed., 1843 ; F. Chr. Baur, Die christ- 
licJie Gnosis, Tubingen, 1835; [Lipsius Der Gnosticismus, etc., Leipsic, 
1860 : W. Mbller, Geschichte der Kosmologie in der griechischen Kirche 
his auf Origenes, Halle, 1860, pp. 189-473 ; H. L. Mansel, The Gnostiq 
Heresies, etc, London, 1875. — Tr.] 



formed, at the beginning of the third century, a kind of 
Christian Neo-Platonic schooL The Latin Fathers, Ter- 
tuUian,! Arnobius, and Lactantius,^ rejected philosophy as 
a heathen product, contact with which must be avoided. 
The Greek and Egyptian Fathers, however, never ceased 
to cultivate it. Indeed, the attacks directed against the 
Gospel by philosophy itself compelled them to study it. 
Owing to the successful pressure thus exerted, the Christ- 
ian faith was reduced to dogma {hor^fxa) ; it was formu- 
lated and systematized. The authors of the dogmas had to 
philosophize in spite of themselves and in self-defence, so to 
speak. Some of them went so far as to regard the teach- 
ings of the heathen sages as divine revelations similar to 
the Gospel. Plato was the only philosopher who received 
serious consideration. The school of Alexandria taught 
an essentially religious philosophy, differing in this respect 
from the other schools, which Avere, for the most part, scep- 
tical. One could not but recognize certain similarities 
between Plato and Christianity; but how was this rela- 
tionship, which sometimes amounted to identity, to be 
explained ? Some — and they were in the majority — 
believed that Plato had drawn from the writings of 
the Old Testament. The enlightened minority concluded 
that the philosophers worthy of the name must have 
been inspired by the same divine reason (X070?) which 
revealed itself in Jesus of Nazareth. Still others had re- 
course to both hypotheses. Justin the Martyr, the author 
of an Apology of Christianity, assumes that the Xoyo^; is 

1 TertulL, De prcescript. hcer., c. 7; Apol, c. 47; Adv. Marcion.,Y., 
19. The Credo quia absurdum of Tertullian is to be taken literally. 
If reason has become deceptive in consequence of the Fall, it is evi- 
dent that a doctrine contradicting it (an absurd doctrine) has more 
chances of being true than one conforming to it. Nothing is more 
logical than the challenge which this distinguished theologian hurls at 

2 Lact., Diu. instit., III., 1. 



universal in its operation, and claims eternal happiness for 
Socrates, Heraclitns, and, in general, for those among the 
heathen, who, though not knowing Jesus, lived according 
to Reason.! Athenagoras, the author of the treatise On 
the Besurrection of tke Dead^ Tatian the Apologist, St. 
Clement of Alexandria, and his cUsciple Origen, all express 
Neo-Platonic conceptions in their writings. The apostles, 
says Origen,^ have set forth the fundamental doctrines of 
the faith in a manner capable of being understood by the 
ignorant and the learned alike, leaving it to such among 
their successors as were endowed with the Spirit to dis- 
cover the reasons for their assertions. Origen consequently 
makes a distinction between the popular and the scientific 
manner of expressing the Christian faith, between the form 
it assumes in the writings of the apostles and the form in 
which it must be conceived by the Christian pliilosopher : 
a distinction which forms the basis of Scholastic rational- 
ism. Finally, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of 
Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and among the Latin Fathers 
(most of whom were hostile to philosophy), Augustine, 
were directly or indirectly influenced by Academic and 
Alexandrian teachings. 

It would be impossible to enter upon a detailed study 
of the Patristic doctrines without encroaching upon the 
domain of pure theology ; hence it will be enough for our 
special purpose to explain the philosophy of Augustine, 
whose writings form the connecting link between Greek 
thought and Scholastic speculation. 

1 Apology, II., p. 83 : Tbv XpiaTov TtpcuTOTOKov tov Oeov clvai edLbdxdrjjxev, 
Kai irpo€fJir]vv(raixev \6yov ovra ov nav yevos dvOpdoTrcov ii€T€(r)(€ ' Koi ol fxera 
Xoyov ^LOxravTes xpi-o-Tiavoi etVt, Ktw aOeot ivop-laOrjaav, olov ev"EXXr)at fxev 
^coKpdrrjs Koi 'HpaKKe^ros Koi aXXoi ttoWol. 

2 De principiis, Preface. J. Denis, De la philosophie d' Origene, Paris, 




§ 28. St. Augustine 

After a youth of dissipation, the rhetorician AuRELius 
AuGUSTiNUS of Thagaste, Africa, (354-430), embraced the 
religion of his mother. He united in his soul a deep love 
of Christ and an ardent zeal for philosophy, although, 
after becoming Bishop of Hippo, he gradually favored an 
absolute submission to the religious authority represented 
by him. His writings, the most important of which are 
the Confessions and the City of Giod} have left a deep 
impress upon the doctrines and the entire literature of 
the Roman Church. 

For him as for Plato, science means a purer, clearer, 
more exalted life, the life of the thinker.^ Reason is 
capable of comprehending God (capahilis); for God has 
given it to us in order that we may know all things and 
consequently God.^ To philosophize is to see truth directly 
and without the intervention of the eyes of the body. Rea- 
son is the eye of the soul. Wisdom is the highest truth 
after which we should strive. Now, what is wisdom but 
God ? To have wisdom means to have God. True philo- 
sophy is therefore identical with true religion : * both have 
the same strivings for the eternal. Why should God de- 
spise Reason, his first-born Son, — Reason, which is God 

^ Other writings of St. Augustine : De libera arhitrio ; De vera reli- 
gione; De immortaUtate animce ; De prcedestinafione et gratia ; Retractiones ; 
etc. Works of St. Augustine, Paris, 1835, ff. ; [vols. XXXIT.-XLVIL 
of Migne's collection; tr. ed. by Dods, 15 vols., Edinburgh, 1871-77, 
also in Schaff's library, Nicene and Post-Mcene Fathers, vols. I.-VIII., 
Buffalo, 1886-88. See Bindemann, Der heilige Augustinus, 3 vols., 
Berlin, etc., 1844-69; A. Dorner, Augustinus, etc., Berlin, 1873; Bohr- 
inger, Geschickte der Kirche Christi (vol. XT.), 2d ed., Zurich, 1861; 
Neander, Allgemeine Geschichte der Religion, etc. (II., 1, 2), 3d ed., 
Gotha, 1856; Eng. tr. by J. Torrey. — Tr.]; Ferraz, La psychologic 
de Saint Augustin, Paris, 1863. 

2 De lihero arhitrio, I., 7. ' Id., II., 3, 6. * De vera religione, 5. 



himself ! He gave it to us in order to make us more per- 
fect than other beings. Nay, faith, which some oppose 
to reason, is possible only to a being endowed with reason. 
Chronologically, faith precedes intelligence : in order to 
understand a thing we must first believe it, — credo ut 
iiitelligam. However, though faith is a condition of 
knowledge, it is nevertheless a provisional state, infe- 
rior to knowledge, and ultimately resolves itself into it. 

The theodicy of St. Augustine is essentially Platonic, 
and at times even approaches the boldest conceptions of 
the school of Alexandiia. God is the being beyond whom, 
outside of whom, and witliout whom, nothing exists ; he is 
the being below whom, in and through whom, everything 
exists that has reality ; he is the beginning, the middle, 
and the end of all things.^ Goodness, justice, and wis- 
dom are not accidental attributes of God, but his innermost 
essence. The same is true of his metaphysical attributes. 
Omnipotence, omnipresence, and eternity are not mere acci- 
dents of the Divine Being, but his divine essence. God is 
substantially omnipresent, without, however, being every- 
thing ; everything is in him, though he is not the All. He 
is good and yet without quality ; he is great, without being 
a quantity ; he is the creator of intelligence and yet supe- 
rior to it ; he is present everywhere, without being bound to 
any place ; he exists and yet is nowhere ; he lives eternally 
and yet is not in time ; he is the principle of all change 
and yet immutable. In speculating about God, reason is 
necessarily involved in a series of antinomies ; it states 
what he is not, without arriving at any definite conclu- 
sion as to his nature; it conceives him, — in this sense it 
is capable of him (capahilis)^ — but it cannot comprehend 
him in the fullness of his perfection. The important point 
is to distinguish carefully between God and the world. St. 
Augustine, whose conceptions closely border upon panthe- 
1 SoUloq., I., 3-4. 



ism, as the preceding shows, escapes it by his doctrine of 
creation ex nihilo.^ If the universe has emanated from 
God, then it is itself of divine essence and identical with 
God. Hence, it is not an emanation but was created by an 
act of divine freedom. God is not the soul of the world ; 
the world is not the body of God, as the Stoics held. The 
immanency of God in the world would be contrary to the 
divine majesty.^ 

Some falsely interpret the doctrine of the Trinity in the 
tritheistic or polytheistic sense. Here lies another danger. 
The three hypostases, although distinct, constitute but one 
and the same God, just as reason, will, and the emotions 
form but one and the same human being.^ St. Augustine's 
criticisms on Arianism are very profound. What do you 
mean, he demands of the Arians, by assuming that the Son 
created the world at the command of the Father ? Do you 
not thereby assert that God the Father did not create the 
world, but simply ordered a demiurge to create it ? What 
is the Son if not the word of God, and what is a command 
if not an act of speech ? Hence, God commanded the Son 
through the Son to create the world. What a strange and 
absurd conclusion ! Arianism errs in that it desires to pic- 
ture the Trinity to itself ; it imagines two beings placed 
very near to each other; each one, however, occupying 
his particular place ; and one of them commands, while the 
other obeys. Arianism should have seen that the com- 
mand by means of which God created the world out of 
nothing simply means the creative Word itself. God is 
a spirit, and we should not and cannot form an image 
of the immaterial.* 

Inasmuch as God created the world by an act of free- 
dom, we must assume that the world had a beginning ; for 

1 De lihero arhifrio, I., 2. ^ Dg civkate Dei, IV., 12. 

3 De frinitafe, IX., 3 ; X., 11. * Contra serm. arian. 




eternal creation, the conception of Origen and the Neo- 
Platonists, is synonymous with emanation. Philosophers 
raise the objection that creation in time would imply an 
eternity of inaction on part of the Creator ; but they 
are wrong. Their error consists in considering the eter- 
nity which preceded creation as an infinitely-long dura- 
tion. Duration is time. Now, outside of creation there 
is neither space, nor time, nor, consequently, duration.^ 
Time or duration is the measure of motion ; where there 
is no movement there is no duration. Since there is no 
movement in eternity and in God, there is no duration in 
him, and time, as Plato aptly remarks, begins only with 
movement, that is, with the existence of finite things. 
Hence, it is incorrect to say that the God of the Chris- 
tians did not create things until after an infinite series of 
infinitely-long periods of absolute inaction. Moreover, St. 
Augustine recognizes the difficulty of conceiving God 
without the universe. On this point, as well as on many 
others, Augustine the philosopher conflicts with Augustine 
the Christian. This constant discord between his faith and 
his reason leads to numerous inconsistencies and contradic- 
tions. God, for example, created the world by an act of 
his free-will, and yet creation is not the result of caprice 
but of an eternal and immutable decree. ^ It is immaterial 
whether the immutable will of God compels him to create 
the world at a fixed period of time or whether it eternally 
compels him to do it ; in either case we have absolute de- 
termination. St. Augustine realizes this, and eventually 
unreservedly declares that divine freedom is the principle 
and supreme norm of things. Since the divine will is the 
ultimate principle, than which there is nothing higher, it 
is useless and absurd to inquire into the final cause of 

1 Confess., XI., 10 ff. ; De civ. Dei, XI., 4-6. 

2 De civ. Dei, XII., 17. 



creation.^ God called other beings than himself into ex- 
istence, because he willed to do so. Human reason has no 
right to go farther than that. All it may do is to ask itself 
the question : Why did God make things so different from 
each other and so unequal ? St. Augustine answers, Avith 
Plato, that the diversity of the parts is the condition of the 
unity of the whole. 

The existence of the soul is proved by thought, con- 
sciousness, and memory. You are in doubt about your 
existence, are you? But to doubt means to think, does 
it not? and to think is to exist, is it not?^ It is more 
difficult to say what the soul is. According to some, it is 
fire or fine air or the fifth element, possessing the property 
of thought, understanding, and memory ; others identify it 
with the brain or the blood, and make thought an effect of 
the organization of the body. But these are mere hypo- 
theses, disproved by the simple fact that we are not con- 
scious of any of these substances constituting the soul. If 
we were made of fire or of air or of any other material, we 
should know it by an immediate perception which would 
be inseparable from our self-consciousness. The soul is a 
substance differing from all known matter as well as from 
matter in general ; for it contains notions of the point, 
the line, length, breadth, and other conceptions, all of 
which are absolutely incorporeal.^ 

Granting this, what shall we say of the origin of the 
soul? There are thinkers, even among the Christians, 
who conceive it as emanating from God. That, however, 
does it too much honor. It is a creature of God, and has 
had a beginning, like every other creature."^ However, 

^ Qucest. div., qucest., 28, The same views are held by the pantheist 
Spinoza, the atheist Schopenhauer (Welt ah Wille, II., Epiphilosophie), 
and Claude Bernard (quoted by the Revue chretienne, March, 1869, 
p. 138). 

2 This is the cogito ergo sum of Descartes. 

* De quantitate animce, 13. * Epistle 157. 



even among those who on principle assume that the soul 
is a creature, opinions differ as to the mode of its creation. 
Some hold that God directly created only the soul of Adam 
and that the souls of other men are produced per traducem. 
This theory (which undoubtedly favors St. Augustine's 
doctrine concerning the transmission of Adam's sin to his 
descendants) is materialistic, for it considers the soul as 
capable of being communicated and divided. Others main- 
tain that souls were created, but existed before bodies ; 
shey were not introduced into them until after the Fall ; 
the object of their captivity being the expiation of the 
errors of a previous life. This doctrine, which Plato 
holds, is disproved by the fact that we have not the slight- 
est recollection of any such state of pre-existence. Plato 
finds that even illiterate persons will, upon proper ques- 
tioning, assert great mathematical truths, and concludes 
therefrom that such persons existed prior to thfe present, 
and that the ideas aroused in their minds by our inquiries 
are but reminiscences. But his hypothesis loses its force 
when we remember that such ideas may be developed by 
the Socratic method in all minds endowed with common 
sense. If they are reminiscences, it would have to be 
assumed that all men were geometricians and mathema- 
ticians in their pre-existent state ; which, judging from 
the small number of transcendental mathematicians among 
the human race, seems very improbable. Plato's argument 
in favor of pre-existence would perhaps have more weight in 
case great mathematical truths could be extracted only from 
a few minds. Finally, there is a third conception, accord- 
ing to which souls are created as soon as bodies are created. 
This theory is more in line with spiritualistic principles, 
although it is not so good a support for the dogma of 
original sin as the others. 

The immortality of the soul necessarily follows from its 
rational nature. Reason brings the soul into immediate 




communion with eternal truth ; indeed, the soul and truth 
constitute but one and the same substance, as it were. Tlie 
death of the soul would mean its utter separation from 
truth; but what finite being would be powerful enough 
to produce such a violent rupture ? and why should God, 
who is truth personified, produce it? Are not thought, 
meditation, and the contemplation of divine things inde- 
pendent of the senses, independent of the body and of 
matter? Hence, when the body turns into dust, why 
should that which is independent of it perish with it?i 
In rejecting the notion of pre-existence, St. Augustine 
also abandons the theory of innate ideas, or rather, he modi- 
fies it. He assumes, with Plato, that when God formed 
the human soul, he endowed it with eternal ideas, the 
principles and norms of reason and will. Thus interpreted, 
St. Augustine accepts the doctrine of innate ideas. He 
denies, however, that these ideas are reminiscences or sur- 
vivals of a pre-existent state, and he does so on the ground 
that if such a theory were true, we would not be creatures, 
but gods. He rejects the doctrine of pre-existence because 
it imj)lies an existence that has no beginning. He also be- 
comes more and more suspicious of the theory of innate 
ideas, because the theory might lead one to conclude that 
ideas existed originally in tlie human soul and were not 
implanted a posteriori by a being outside of the soul. St. 
Augustine's chief aim is to elevate God by debasing man ; 
to represent the latter as a wholly passive being who owes 
notliing to himself and everything to God. In the words 
of the Apostle : " What hast thou that thou didst not re- 
ceive ? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory 
as if thou hadst not received it ? " ^ Man as such is the 
personification of impotence and nothingness. Whatever 
he possesses, he has received from others. 

^ De immorfaJifafe animce, I., 4, 6. 
2 St. Paul, 1 Corinthians^ IV. 7. 



The human soul is passive, receptive, contemplative, and 
nothing more. It receives its knowledge of sensible things 
through the senses ; it receives its moi'al and religious no- 
tions through the instrumentality of the Spirit. It owes 
its conception of the external world to the terrestrial 
light surrounding its body, and its knowledge of celestial 
things to the heavenly light which forms its spiritual en- 
vironment. However, this interior light, which is nothing 
but God himself, is not outside of us ; if it were, God would 
be an extended and material being ; it is in us without 
being identical with us. In it and through it we perceive 
the eternal forms of things, or as Plato calls them, the Ideas, 
the immutable essences of passing realities. God himself 
is the form of all things, that is, the eternal law of their 
origin, development, and existence. He is the Idea of the 
ideas, and, consequentl}^ tlie true realit}^ for reality dwells 
not in the visible but in the invisible ; it is not found in 
matter but in the Idea.^ 

St. Augustine's idealism, which comes from Plato and 
anticipates Malebranche's vision in God and Schelling's 
intellect iidl inttiition^ was, like bin philosophy in general, 
subjected to the influence of the theological system cham- 
pioned by him during the latter part of his life. The 
inner light, which reveals to the thinker God and the eter- 
nal types of things, seems to him to grow dimmer and dim- 
mer, the more convinced he becomes of the fall and radical 
corruption of human nature. Reason, which, before the 
Fall, was the organ of God and the infallible revealer of 
celestial things, is obscured by sin ; the inner light changes 
into darkness. Had it remained pure, God would not have 
had to incarnate himself in Jesus Christ in order to reveal 
himself to humanity. Reason would have wholly sufficed 
to reclaim the lost human race. But the word was made 

1 De civ. Dei, XIII., 24 ; De lib. arbitrio, II., 3, 6 ; De immorL 
anim.f 6. 



flesh, and, the inner light being obscured, the Father of 
light appealed to our senses in order to transmit through 
them what reason was no longer able to give us. In this 
way, Augustine the theologian transforms the idealism of 
Augustine the philosopher into sensualism. 

The moral ideas of St. Augustine suffer the same changes. 
His conceptions rise far beyond the general level of patris- 
tic ethics, when Plato inspires his thought. In his polemic 
against moral philosophy, Lactantius had declared in true 
Epicurean fashion : Non est^ ut aiunt, propter seipsam virtus 
expetenda, sed propter vitam beatam, quce virtutem necessario 
sequitur^'^ and Tertullian had written the words : Bonum 
atque optimum est quod^Deus prceccpit. Audaciam existhno 
de bono divini prcecepti disputare. Neque enim quia bonum 
est, idcirco miscultare debemus, sed quia Deus prcecepit?" St. 
Augustine's reply to Lactantius is, that virtue and not 
happiness constitutes the highest goal of free activity, 
or the sovereign good. He opposes to eudsemonism ethi- 
cal idealism. Against the indeterminism of Tertullian 
he raises the objection that the moral law does not depend 
on any one, but that it is itself the absolute.^ The divine 
will does not make goodness, beauty, and truth; absolute 
goodness, absolute beauty, and absolute truth constitute the 
will of God. Is the moral law good because God is the 
highest lawgiver ? No. We regard him who has given us 
the moral law as the highest lawgiver, because it is good. 
A thing is not bad because God forbids it ; God forbids it 
because it is bad. St. Jerome and St. Chrysostom con- 
doned and even authorized official falsehood. Permit false- 
hood, and you permit sin ! answers the Bishop of Hippo.* 

St. Augustine is perfectly aware of the insoluble diffi- 
culties which the problem of human freedom considered in 
its relations to divine prescience, and the question of the 

1 Imt. Div., III., 12. ^ De poenitentia, IV. 

8 De lib. arbitr.f I., 3. ^ Contra mendacium, c. 15. 



origin of evil present. If God foresees our actions, these 
lose their fortuitous character and become necessary. Then 
how are we to explain free-will, responsibility, and sin? 
If God is the source of all tliiugs, must we not also assume 
that evil proceeds from his will ? And even if evil were 
only privation, the absence of good, would not this lack 
of virtue be caused by the refusal of the divine will to en- 
lighten the soul and to turn it in the direction of the 
good ? 

The philosophical reasons inclining St. Augustine tow- 
ards deterininism are supplemented by religious reasons.^ 
He feels that he is a sinner and incapable of being saved 
through his own efforts. The natural man is the slave of 
evil, and divine grace alone can make him free. Now, 
divine grace cannot be brought about by man ; it is entirely 
dependent on God's freedom. God saves man because he 
desires it, but he does not save all men. He chooses 
among them, and destines a certain number for salvation. 
This election is an eternal act on his part, antecedent to 
the creation of man. That is, some men are predestined 
for salvation, others are not. St. Augustine ignores the 
question of predestination for damnation, as far as he can, 
but it is logically impossible for him to escape this neces- 
sary consequence of his premise. 

However superior his teaching may be to that of Pela- 
gius his adversary, it is plain that, as soon as his thought 
enters upon the path of theological fatalism, it gradually 
sinks to the level of the ethics of Lactantius and Tertul- 
lian. The determinism in which his metaphysical specu- 
lations culminate is absolute, embracing man and God in 
its scope ; while the determinism postulated by his religious 
consciousness applies only to man and leaves God abso- 
lutely undetermined. For Augustine the thinker, abso- 

^ De civ. Dei, XX. ; De gratia Dei et lib. arh., 6 ; De iircedestinatione 
sanctorum, 18 j De prced. et gratia, 2. 



lute goodness constitutes the essence of the divine will ; 
for Augustine the champion of predestination, good and 
evil are dependent on God's will. The God of the Pla- 
tonic thinker manifests himself to the world in Jesus 
Christ by virtue of an inner necessity ; according to the 
doctor of the Church, the incarnation is but one of the 
thousand means which God might have employed to realize 
his aims. The philosopher admires and respects the ancient 
virtues ; the theologian sees in them nothing but vices in 
disguise, splendida vitia?- 

St. Augustine excellently exemplifies the intellectual 
and moral crisis that forms the boundary between the 
classical epoch and the Middle Ages. 

§ 29. The Death Struggles of the Roman World.-— Bar- 
barism. — -The First Symptoms of a New Philosophy 

When St. Augustine expired, the Western Empire lay 
at the point of death. From every side the Northern 
hordes broke through the frontiers. Gaul and Spain were 
in their hands, and Italy menaced. With the collapse of 
the State, the entire Grseco-Roman civilization sank into 
ruins. The Church alone of all the old institutions had 
a chance of weathering the storm. She opened the gates of 
a better world to the naive believers of the North as well 
as to the Uase Grseco-Latin sceptics, and closed them upon 
the unworthy. This 'power of the keys she received directl}- 
from God, and it gave her a powerful hold on both Romans 
and barbarians. Moreover, the Church not only repre- 
sented the ancient ideals, which the future had to develoj) 
or transform ; she also proclaimed the essentially new and 
fruitful principle of the equality of nations and individuals 
before God, the doctrine of the unity and solidarity of the 
human race; in a word, the idea of humanity. And 

1 De civilate Dei, XIX., 25. 


SO it happened that, Avhen the catastrophe arrived, the 
Church remained stable and inherited the empire. As the 
heir of classical culture and the depositary of the instru- 
ments of salvation, she henceforth bestows the gifts of 
education upon the barbarians, and the bread of Heaven 
upon all. She establishes new nations ; and under her 
fostering care the Neo-Latin and Germanic civilization 
shows the first signs of life. 

However, centuries passed before the death struggles of 
antiquity ended, and a new world was born. The lit- 
erary traditions of Greece and Rome were kept alive in 
parts of Italy and the Eastern Empire. While the last 
thinkers of paganism were consuming their strength in 
weak efforts to revive the religion of the past, a Christian, 
hiding his identity beneath the pseudonym of Dionysius 
the Areopagite,^ advanced beyond the timid speculations of 
the Greek Fathers, and christianized the Neo-Platonic 
system, thereby sowing the seed in Clnistian thought which 
sprang np in Maximus the Confessor,^ Scotus Erigena, 
Hugo and Kichard of St. Victor, Eckliart, Bohme, and 
Bruno. Marcianus Capella (about 450) wrote an encyclo- 
pedia of the sciences.^ John Philoponus,* a contemporary 
of the Neo-Platonist Simplicius, published commentaries 
on the works of Aristotle and defended the teachings of 
Christianity. At about the same period, the Roman Boe- 
thius ^ translated Plato and Aristotle, and wrote his delight- 

1 Dioiiysii Areopagitse Opera, Greek and Latin, [Bale, 1539] ; Paris, 
1615, 1644 (2 folio vols.) ; [also in Migne's collection]; Engelhardt, 
De origine scriptorum Areopagiticorum, Erlangen, 1823; [J. Colet, Two 
Treatises on the Hierarchies of Dionysius, with TransL, Introduction 
and Notes, by J. II. Lupton, London, 1869. — Tr.]. 

2 580-662. Opera, ed. Combefisius, 2 vols., Paris, 1675. 

8 Satyricon, ed. Kopp, Francf ., 1836 ; [Eyssenhardt, Leipsic, 1866]. 

* His commentaries on the Analytics, the Physics, and Psychology, 
etc., were repeatedly printed during the sixteenth century. 

^ A statesman who was executed in the reign of Theodoric, 525. 
Opera, [Venice, 1491]; Bale, 1546, 1570, folio; [also in Migne's coUec 



ful treatise De coiisolatione philosophioe, which breathes the 
spirit of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius ; Cassiodorus,i 
another Italian (died 575), published the treatise De arti- 
bus ac duciplinis lihcralmm litterarum^ which with the 
Encyclopedia of Marcianus Capella, the commentaries of 
Boethius, and the Isagoge of Porphyry, formed the basis 
of mediaeval instruction.^ Let us also mention Isidore of 
Seville and his twenty books of Etymologies ; St. John of 
Damas, a celebrated theologian and scholar ; and Photius, 
the Patriarch of Constantinople, the author of the Bihliotheca 
or Myriohilion^ a kind of philosophical anthology. 

It is evident, literature gradually retires within the 
confines of the Church. In the West, especially, all intel- 
lectual activity centred in it. But the smouldering spark 
of learned culture was with difficulty kept alive in the 
hearts of a clergy for the most part recruited from the 
barbarians. The times were steeped in ignorance. The 
Latin language, which the Church continued to use, 
formed the only bond of union between the classical world 
and the new generation. At a time when brutal passions 
raged, when the secular clergy themselves were addicted 
to a vulgar realism and showed an absolute indifference to 
spiritual things, the convents became the refuge of thought 
and study. Here, the mind, elsewhere distracted by ex- 
ternal things, found ample opportunity and leisure moments 
to contemplate itself and its real treasures. Unable as yet 
to produce original works of their own, the monks spent 

tion]. Gervaise, Histoire de Bocice, senaleur romain, Paris, 1715; 
[Prantl, Geschiclite der Logik, I., pp. 679-722]. 

1 Opera omnia, [Paris, 1579]; Rouen, 1679; Venice, 1726. St. 
Marthe, Vie de Cassiodore, Paris, 1695. 

2 According to this scheme of instruction, there are seven liberal 
arts, three of which, grammar, rhetoric, and dialectics, form the 
trivium ; while the other four, music, arithmetic, geometry, and 
astronomy constitute the quadrivium. There is a threefold and a four- 
fold path leading to the highest science, theology. 



their time in copying manuscripts, and to their zealous 
activity we owe our knowledge of quite a number of 
ancient masterpieces. 

But they did more ; they founded schools and instructed 
the youth Qscliolce, scholastici^ doctriiia scholasticd). The 
monastic schools rivalled the cathedi-al schools. Great 
Britain possessed model monasteries, which produced such 
men as the Venerable Bede,^ Alcuin,^ a pupil of the school 
of York, who became the counsellor and friend of Charle- 
magne, and helped to found the Palatine Academy and a 
great number of catlieih'al and monastic schools ; finally 
and above all, Scotus Erigena, the first and, on the whole, 
most profound philosopher of the Clnistian Middle Ages, 
the founder of Scholasticism. 

The fatherland of Scotus, Occam, and the two Bacons, 
has every reason to boast of being the Ionia of modern 

§ 30. Scholasticism ^ 

As the sole legatee of the Roman Empire, the Church 
is the predominant power of the Middle Ages. Out- 
side of the Cliurch there can be no salvation and no 
science. The dogmas formulated by her represent the 
truth. Hence, the problem no longer is to search for it. 
The Church has no place for philosophy, if we mean by 
philosophy the pursuit of truth. From the mediaeval point 

1 673-735; Opera, Paris, 1521 f . ; Bale, 1563; Cologne, 1612. 
[A. Giles, The Coinplete Works of Venerable Beda (Latin), 12 vols., 
London, 1843-44.] 

2 726-804; Opera, Paris, 1617; Ratisb., 1773, 2 fol. vols. 

3 [Consult the works of Ritter, Rousselot, Haureau, Stbckl, etc., 
mentioned on page 10; also the general histories of philosophy referred 
to on pages 13-16. —Tr.] Cousin, Fragments philosnpldques, Pliilo- 
sopJiie scolastique ; Introduction to Kuno Fischer's Hhlory of Modern 
Philosophy, [S. Talamo, V Aristotelismo nella storia della filosofia, 3d 
ed., Siena, 1882 ; French transl., Paris, 1876. — Tr.] 



of view, to philosophize means to explain the dogma, to 
deduce its consequences, and to demonstrate its truth. 
Hence, philosophy is identical with positive theology; 
when it fails to be that, it becomes heretical. Christian 
thought hemmed in by the law of the Church resembles a 
river confined between two steep banks ; the narrower the 
bed, the deeper the stream. Being unable to escape from 
the dogma encompassing it, it endeavors to penetrate it, 
and eventually undermines it. 

Thus the philosophy of the Christian School, Scholasti- 
cism, arises and gradually gains a foothold. Scotus Eri- 
gena is its founder ; St. Anselmus, Abelard, St. Thomas, 
and Duns Scotus, are its most distinguished representa- 
tives. Scholasticism is modern science in embryo;^ the 
philosophy of the European nations developing within the 
mother Church in the form of theology. It is not, like 
the speculation of the Church Fathers, a child of classical 
antiquity, from which the fall of the Roman world sep- 
arates it. It springs from the healthy soil of the Ger- 
manic and Neo-Latin world, and is the product of other 
races and a new civilization.^ France, England, Spain, 
Germany ; Western Europe, in a word, is its home. It has 
its period of youth, maturity, and decline. Scholastic 
philosophy is at first influenced by Platonism through the 
mediation of St. Augustine ; from the thirteenth century 
on, it gradually suffers the influence of Aristotle's philo- 
sophy. Hence, we notice two great periods in the history 
of Scholasticism : the Platonic period and the Peripatetic 
period. The latter divides into two sub-periods, of which 
the first interprets Aristotle in the realistic sense, while 
the second conceives him as a nominalist. From the four- 
teenth century on. Scholasticism is engaged in the struggle 

^ Hegel, Vorle^iungen iiher die Geschichte der Philosopliie, vol. III., 
p. 118; [vol. XV., of Complete Works'^. 
2 Id., p. 139. 



between tlie recdists and nominalists^ and towards the 
middle of the fifteenth century, it succumbs to the secu- 
lar and liberal reaction inaugurated by the Renaissance. 
After that it ceases to be a great intellectual power, and 
seeks refuge, body and soul, within the pale of the Church, 
of wliich it is, to this day, the official philosophy.^ 

What is its ruling thought, its fundamental doctrine ? 
The " last of the Scholastics," though passing over the Mid- 
dle Ages with " seven-leagued boots," ^ formulates it most 
aptly in the following words : " Philosophy and theology 
have the same contents, the same aim, and the same inter- 
ests. ... In explaining religion, philosophy simply explains 
itself, and in explaining itself it explains religion." ^ In- 
deed, tills principle lies at the root of all its systems. The 
distinguishing characteristic of the period upon which we 
are now entering is, that it reconciles elements previously 
and subsequently in conflict with each other. An alliance 
is formed between philosophy and theology, faith and 
reason, "grace" and "nature." The Latin Fathers, as 
well as the free-thinkers by whom modern philosophy was 
founded, considered these two spheres as antagonistic. 
The Fathers took sides with " grace " ; the philosophers, 
with " nature " ; while in the judgment of the Schoolmen, 
at least those of the first period, there can be no contradic- 
tion between the revealed dogma and natural reason. But 
inasmuch as doctrines seemed to contradict each other on 
many points, the problem became to reconcile them, to 
demonstrate the truth of the dogma, and to prove that 

^ The most distinguished among its post-Renaissance representar 
tives is Francis Suarez of Granada (1548-1617), a follower of Thomas 
of Aquin and author of the Disputationes metaphysicce (Paris, 1619), 

2 Hegel, Vorlesungen iiber die Gescliichte der Philosophie, vol. III., 
p. 99. [Engl, translation by Haldane, vol. III., p. 1.] 

8 Vorlemngen iiber die Philosophie der Religion, vol. I., p. 5 ; [vol 
XL, Complete Works.'] 


PHiLOSoriiY or the middle ages 

ecclesiastical Christianity is a rational religion. To ren- 
der the dogma acceptable to reason, says an eminent 
follower of the philosojDher just quoted,^ that is the pro- 
gram of Scholasticism. The dogma affirms: Deus homo; 
Scholasticism asks : Cur Deus homo ? In order to answer 
this question, theology forms an alliance with philosophy ; 
faith, with science. This alliance constitutes the very 
essence of Scholasticism. The latter is a compromise 
between philosophy and faith. Indeed, Scholasticism 
declines as soon as the nbminalistic doctors, on the one 
hand, and the humanists, on the other, recognize the 
necessity of separating the two domains. 

§ 31. Scotus Erigena 

The first great Schoolman, John Scotus Erigena, a 
native of Ireland, was invited to take charge of the Pala- 
tine Academy by Charles the Bald, about the middle of the 
ninth century. His treatise, De divina prcedestinatione, 
which he wrote against the heresy of Gottschalk, and his 
Latin translation of Dionysius the Areopagite, which he 
failed to submit to the Pope for approval, alienated from 
him the sympathies of the Church. He continued to enjoy, 
however, the protection of the Emperor. The date of his 
death is as uncertain as the date of his birth. 

Scotus resembles Origen in breadth of mind, and is 
much superior to his times. He suffered the same fate : 
the disfavor of the Church, which failed to canonize him. 
His learning, however, rises far beyond the scientific 
level of the Carlo vingian epoch. Besides Latin, he knew 
Greek and perhaps also Arabic. In addition to his knowl- 
edge of the Greek Fathers and Neo-Platonism, he possessed 
wonderful powers of speculation and boldness of judgment. 
He stands out like a high volcano on a perfectly level 

1 K. Fischer, op. cif., vol. L, 1, cli. IV. 



plane. His philosophy, as set forth in the Be divisione 
naturce^ is not, indeed, an innovation on the Neo-Platonic 
doctrines. Like the Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite, it 
reproduces the system of emanation of the Alexandrine 
school in Christian form. But it was almost a miracle for 
any one living in the ninth century and on this side of the 
Pyrenees to understand Plotinus and Proclus. 

The object of philosophy is, according to Scotus, identi- 
cal with that of religion.^ Philosophy is the science of the 
faith, the understanding of the dogma. Speculation and 
religion have the same divine content and differ in form 
only. Religion worships and adores, while philosophy 
studies, discusses, and with the aid of reason explains 
the object which religion adores : God or uncreated and 
creative Nature. 

In its broadest sense, the word nature comprises all 
beings, both uncreated and created things. Nature thus 
interpreted embraces four categories of existence : (1) that 
which is uncreated and creates ; (2) that which is created 
and creates ; (3) that w hich is created and does not create ; 
(4) that which is uncreated and does not create. Exist- 
ence is possible only in these four forms. 

This classification may, however, be simplified. The 
first class is, in fact, the same as the fourth, for both of 
them contain that wliich is uncreated, and consequently 
correspond to the only being existing in the absolute sense 
of the word, to God. The fii^st class embraces God in so 
far as he is the creative principle, the beginning or the 

1 Edited by Thomas Gale, Oxford, 1681; Schliiter, Miinster, 1838; 
H. J. Floss, Paris, 1 853 [in vol. 122 of Migne's collection, which con- 
tains also the treatise De divina prcndestinatione and the translation 
of Dionysius] ; St. Rene TailJandier, Scot Erigene et la philosophie 
scolasiique, Strasburg, 1843 ; [Huber, Johannes Scotiis Erigena, etc., 
Munich, 1861]. 

2 De divina prcedeMinatione. Procemmm (in Gilbert Mauguin, ^MCf. 
qui nana saec. de prced. et grat. scripserunt opera, Paris, 1850). 



source of things ; the fourth also contains God, but only in 
so far as he is the end, the consummation, and the highest 
perfection of things. We also find, upon comparing the 
second and the third classes, that they form a single class 
containing all created things, or the universe, in so far as 
this is distinct from God. The Idea-types, which are real- 
ized in individuals, are productive created beings (the 
second class).^ Individuals are created and non-productive 
things ; for types or species, not individuals, possess the 
power of reproduction. Hence, we have left two classes in 
place of the four original ones : God and the universe. 

But these two categories or modes of existence are also 
identical.'-^ In fact, the world is in God, and God is in it 
as its essence, its soul, its life. Whatever living force, 
light, and intelligence the world contains, is God, who is 
immanent in the cosmos ; and the latter exists only in so 
far as it participates in the divine being. God is the sum- 
total of being without division, limit, or measure ; the world 
is divided and limited being. God is unexplicated being ; 
the world is explicated, revealed, manifested (^Oeo<f>dveia) 
being ; God and the universe are one and the same being, 
two different modes or forms of the only infinite being ; or 
rather, the world alone is a mode of being, a modification, 
and limitation of being, while God is being without mode 
of being or any determination.^ 

Scotus derives the word 6e6^ either from OecopM^ video^ or 
from Seca^ curro.^ According to the former etymology, it 
means absolute vision or intelligence ; according to the 
latter, eternal movement. But both meanings are merely 
figurative. For, since God is the being by the side of 

^ De divisione naturcB, IT., 2. 
2 Id., IIL, 22. 

^ De divisione naturce, IIL, 10: God is everything, and everything 
is God; TIL, 17-18: Hence we should not consider God and the 
creature as a duality, but as one and the same being ; cf. 22-23. 

* Id., I., 14. 




whom or in whom there is no other being, we cannot, 
strictly speaking, say that God sees or comprehends any- 
thing. And as far as divine movement is concerned, we 
may say that it in no wise resembles the locomotion pecu- 
liar to creatures ; it proceeds from God, in God, towards 
God ; that is, it is synonymous Avith absolute rest. Since 
God is superior to all differences and all contrasts, he can- 
not be designated by any term implying an opposite. We 
call him good, but incorrectly, since the difference between 
good and evil does not exist in him {virepdyaOo^ plus (juam 
bonus est We call him God, but we have just seen that 
the expression is inadequate. We call him Truth ; but 
truth is opposed to error, and there is no such antithesis in 
the Infinite Being. We call him the Eternal One, Life, 
Light ; but since the difference between eternity and time, 
life and death, light and its oj^posite, does not exist in God, 
these terms are inexact. No term, not even the term heing^ 
will do him justice, for being is opposed to non-being. 
Hence God is indefinable as well as incomprehensible. He 
is higher than goodness, higher than truth, higher than 
eternity ; he is more than life, more than light, more than 
God (t/Tre/a^eo?), more than being itself (yTrepovcno^;^ super- 
essentialis). None of the categories of Aristotle can com- 
prehend him, and inasmuch as to comprehend means to 
bring an object under a class, God himself cannot be 
comprehended. He is the absolute nothing, the eternal 

The innermost essence of tlie human soul is as mysterious 
and impenetrable as God, since this essence is God himself.^ 
All that we know of it is that it is movement and life, and 
that this movement, this life, has three degrees : sensation, 
intelligence, and reason: the human image of the divine 
Trinity. The body was created with the soul ; but it has 

^ De divisione naturce, L, 14. 

2 id., L, 16; m., 19. 3 id.,L,78. 


fallen from its ideal beauty in consequence of sin. This 
beauty, which is latent in the actual organism, will not 
manifest itself in its purity except in the life to come. 
Man is an epitome of all terrestrial and celestial creatures. 
He is the world in miniature, and as such the lord of cre- 
ation. He differs from the angels only in sin, and raises 
himself to the level of divine being by penitence. Sin 
belongs to the corporeal nature of man ; it is the necessary 
effect of the preponderance of the senses over the intel- 
lectual life in process of development. 

The fall of man is not only the consequence, but also 
the cause of his corporeal existence. The imperfections 
and the diseases of his actual body, his dull materiality, 
the antagonism between the flesh aiid the spirit, the differ- 
ence of the sexes, all these things in themselves constitute 
sin, fall, separation from God, the dismemberment of the 
universal unity.^ On the other hand, since there is no real 
being outside of God, Avhat we call separation from God, 
fall or sin, is bu.t a negative reality, a defect or privation. 
Evil has no substantial existence. A thing has real exist- 
ence only in so far as it is good, and its excellence is the 
measure of its reality. Perfection and reality are synonyms. 
Hence absolute imperfection is synonymous with absolute 
non-reality; which implies the impossibility of the exist- 
ence of a personal Devil, that is, an ahsolutely wicked 
being. Evil is the absence of good, life, and being. De- 
prive a being of everything good in it, and you annihi- 
late it.2 

Creation is an eternal and continuous act, an act without 
beginning or end. God precedes the world in dignity, not 
in time.^ God is absolutely eternal ; the world is relatively 
so. It emanates from God as the liglit emanates from the 
sun, or heat from fire. In the case of God, to think is to 

1 Cf. §§ 10, IG, 25, 68. 

2 De divisione naturae^ TIT., 1, 4. 

8 Id., TIL, 6. 



create {videt operando et videndo operatur i), and his creative 
activity is, like tiis thought, without beginning. Every 
creature is virtually eternal ; our entire being is rooted in 
eternity ; we have all pre-existed from eternity in the in- 
finite series of causes which have produced us. God alone 
is eternal actu ; he alone never existed as a simple germ. 
The nothingness from which the Avorld is derived, accord- 
ing to Scripture, is not equal to 0 ; it is the ineffable and 
incomprehensible beauty of the divine nature, the supra- 
essential and supernatural essence of God, inaccessible to 
thought and unknown even to the angels. ^ 

The genera, species, and individuals are evolved in suc- 
cession from the Infinite Being. Creation consists in this 
eternal analysis of the general. Being is the highest gen- 
erality. From being, which is common to all creatures, 
life, which belongs only to organized beings, is separated 
as a special principle. Reason springs from life and em- 
braces a still narrower class of beings (men and angels) ; 
finally, from reason are derived wisdom and science, which 
belong to the smallest number. Creation is a harmonious 
sum of concentric circles ; we have constant crossings be- 
tween the divine essence, which overflows, expands, and 
unfolds, and the world or the periphery, which strives to 
return to God and to be merged in him.^ The aim of 
human science is to know exactly how things spring 
from the first causes, and how they are divided and sub- 
divided into species and genera. Science in this sense is 
called dialectics,* and may be divided into physics and 
ethics. True dialectics is not, like that of the Sophists, the 
product of human imagination or capricious reason ; the 
author of all. sciences and all arts has grounded it on the 
very nature of things. Through knowledge and wisdom, its 
culmination, the human soul rises above nature and be* 

1 De divisione naturce, III., 17 ff. ^ 19. 

3 Id., L, 16. 4 Id., I., 29, 46 ; V., 4. 




comes identified with God. This return to God is effected, 
for nature in general, in man ; for man, in Christ and the 
Christian ; for the Christian, in his supernatural and essen- 
tial union with God through the spirit of wisdom and sci- 
ence. Just as everything comes from God, everything is 
destined to return to God. Scotus teaches predestination, 
i. e., universal 2>re destination for salvation. All fallen an- 
gels, all fallen men, all beings, in a word, will return to God. 
The punishments of hell are purely spiritual. There is no 
other recompense for virtue than the vision or immediate 
knowledge of God, no other pain for sin than remorse. 
Punishments have nothing arbitrary in them ; they are 
the natural consequences of the acts condemned by the 
divine law.^ 

§ 32. St. Anselm 

Scotus Erigena went out like a meteor on a dark night. 
While the Arabian schools ^ were continuing the j)hilo- 

^ De div. prcedestinationey 2-4. 

2 The most celebrated schools in the Orient were : Bagdad, Bas- 
sora, Bokhara, Koufa ; in Spain : Cordova, Granada, Toledo, Sevilla, 
Murcia, Valencia, Almeria, etc. The Arabians are apt pupils of the 
Greeks, Persians, and Hindoos in science. Their philosophy is the 
continuation of Peripateticism and Neo-Platonism. It is more learned 
than original, and consists mainly of exegesis, particularly of the 
exegesis of Aristotle's system, the strict monotheism of which recom- 
mended it to the disciples of Islam. The leaders of Arabian thought 
are, in Asia : Alkendi of Bassora, a contemporary of Scotus Erigena ; 
Alfarabi of Bagdad (same century), among other things the author of 
an Encyclopedia, which the Christian Schoolmen valued very highly ; 
Avicenna (Ibn-Sina died at Ispahan, 1036), celebrated in Em-ope as 
a physician and learned interpreter of Aristotle ; Algazel of Bagdad 
(died 1111), a sceptical philosopher and orthodox Mussulman; in 
Spain: Avempace (Ibn-Badja) of Saragossa, died 1138, Ibn-Top- 
hail of Cadiz (1100-1185), Averroes (Ibn-Boschd) of Cordova, the 
"commentator of commentators" (1126-1198), all of them learned 
physicians, mathematicians, philosophers, and fruitful writers. After 
the days of Averroes, Arabian philosophy rapidly declined, never to 



sophical and scientific traditions of Greece and the Orient 
with credit to themselves, the alliance between reason and 
faith had only a few isolated representatives in Christian 
Europe during the tenth and eleventh centuries, viz. : Ger- 
bert 1 (Sylvester II.), who is indebted for his knowledge to 
the Arabians ; Berengar of Tours ; ^ Lanfranc ; ^ and Hil- 
debert of Lavardin, Bishop of Tours, the author of a treatise 
on morals.* The great questions which occupied the mind 
of Scotus no longer interested them. These subtle reasoners 
spent their time in discussing the most trivial subjects and 
the most childish problems ; Can a prostitute again become 
a virgin through the divine omnipotence ? Does the mouse 
that eats the consecrated host eat the body of the Lord ? 
Christian philosophy is still in its infancy, and therefore 
delights in such childish sports. But these sports are sig- 
nificant preludes to the combats which the future has in 

The first really speculative thinker after Scotus is St. 
Anselm,^ the disciple of Lanfranc. He was born at Aosta 

rise again, but it left its impress on Jewish thought (Avicebron or 
Ibn-Gebirol, eleventh century, the author of the Fountain of Life ; Moses 
Maimonides, 1135-1204, the still more noted author of the Guide to the 
Misguided, etc.), and through the latter on Christian thought. See 
[Schmolders, Documenta philosophice Arahum, Bonn, 1836]; same au- 
thor, Essai sur les ecoles philosophiques cliez les Arabes, Paris, 1842; 
[Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, vols. I.-VII., 
Vienna, 1850-56] ; Munck, Melanges de philosophie juive et arabe, Paris, 
1859; Renan, Averroeset VAverroisme, 3d ed., Paris, 1869; [F. Dieterici, 
Die Philosophie der Araber im 10. Jahrhundert, 8 pts., Leipsic, 1865-76 ; 
M. Eisler, Vorlesungen uber die Judische Philosophie des Mittelalters, 3 
vols., Vienna, 1870-84 ; M. Joel, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Philosophie, 
2 vols., Breslau, 1876. — Tr.]. 

1 Died 1003. 

2 Died 1088. De sacra coena adversus Lanfr., Berlin, 1844. 
8 Died, 1089. Opera, ed. Giles, Oxford, 1854. 

* Died 1134. Opera., 3d. Beaugendre. 

6 Opera, Nuremberg, etc., 1491 ff. ; also in vol. 155 of Migne's col- 



(1033), entered the monastery of Bee in Normandy (1060), 
succeeded Lanfranc as Abbot (1078), and as Archbishop 
of Canterbury (1093). He died in 1109. He left a great 
number of writings, the most important of which are : the 
Dialogus de grammatico, the Monologium de divinitatis essen- 
tia sive Uxemplum de ratione Jldei,th.e Proslogium sive Fides 
qucerens iiitellectum, the De veritate, the De fide trinitatis, 
and the Cur Deus homo ? 

The second Augustine, as St. Anselm has been called, 
starts out from the same principle as the first ; he holds 
that faith precedes all reflection and all discussion con- 
cerning religious things. The unbelievers, he says,^ strive 
to understand because they do not believe; Ave, on the 
contrary, strive to understand because we believe. They 
and we have the same object in view ; but inasmuch as they 
do not believe, they cannot arrive at their goal, which is to 
understand the dogma. The unbeliever will never under- 
stand. In religion faith plays the part played by experi- 
ence in the understanding of the things of this world. The 
blind man cannot see the light, and therefore does not 
understand it; the deaf-mute, who has never perceived 
sound, cannot have a clear idea of sound. Similarly, not 
to believe means not to perceive, and not to perceive means 
not to understand. Hence, we do not reflect in order that 
we may believe ; on the contrary, we believe in order that 
we may arrive at knowledge. A Christian ought never to 
doubt the beliefs and teachings of the Holy Catholic 
Church. All he can do is to strive, as humbly as possible, 
to understand her teachings by believing them, to love 
them, and resolutely to observe them in his daily life. 

lection, Paris, 1852-54 ; [Ilasse, Anselm von Canterhury, 2 pts., Leipsic, 
1843-52] ; Charles de Remusat, Anselme de Cantorhe'ry^ tableau de la vie 
monastique, etc., Paris, 1854 ; 2d ed., 1868 ; [Shedd, History of Christian 
Doctrine, vol. II., New York, 1864]. 
* Cur Deus homo ? L, 2. 



Should he succeed in understanding the Christian doc- 
trine, let him render thanks to God, the source of all intel- 
ligence ! In case he fails, that is no reason why he should 
obstinately attack the dogma, but a reason Avhy he should 
bow his head in worship. Faith ought not merely to be 
the starting-point, — the Christian's aim is not to depart 
from faith but to remain in it, — but also the fixed rule 
and goal of thought, the beginning, the middle, and the 
end of all philosophy. ^ 

The above almost literal quotations might give one the 
impression that St. Anselm belongs exclusively to the 
liistory of theology. Such is not the case, however. This 
fervent Catholic is more independent, more of an investi- 
gator and philosopher than he himself imagines. He is a 
typical scholastic doctor and a fine exponent of the alliance 
between reason and faith which forms the characteristic 
trait of mediaeval philosophy. He assumes, a priori^ that 
revelation and reason are in perfect accord. These two 
manifestations of one and the same Supreme Intelligence 
cannot possibly contradict each other. Hence, his point of 
view is diametrically opposed to the credo quia ahsurdum. 
Moreover, he too had been besieged by doubt. Indeed, 
the extreme ardor which impels him to search everywhere 
for arguments favorable to the dogma, is a confession on 
his part that the dogma needs support, that it is debatable, 
that it lacks self-evidence, the criterion of truth. Even as 
a monk, it was his chief concern to find a simple and con- 
clusive argument in support of the existence of God and of 
all the doctrines of the Church concerning the Supreme 
Being. Mere affirmation did not satisfy him ; he demanded 
proofs. This thought was continually before his mind ; it 
caused him to forget his meals, and pursued him even 
during the solemn moments of worship. He comes to the 
conclusion that it is a temptation of Satan, and seeks deliv- 

^ De fide trinitatis ; cf. Monologium, Preface. 



erance from it. But in vain. After a night spent in medi- 
tation, he at last discovers what he has been seeking for 
years : the incontrovertible argument in favor of the Chris- 
tian dogma, and he regards himself as fortunate in having 
found, not only the proof of the existence of God, but his 
peace of soul. His demonstrations are like the premises of 
modern rationalism. 

Everything that exists, he says,^ has its cause, and this 
cause may be one or many. If it is one, then we have 
what we are looking for ; God, the unitary being to whom 
all other beings owe their origin. If it is manifold, there 
are three possibilities : (1) The manifold may depend on 
unity as its cause ; or (2) Each thing composing the 
manifold may be self -caused ; or (3) Each thing may owe 
its existence to all the other things. The fii'st case is 
identical with the hypothesis that everything proceeds 
from a single cause ; for to depend on several causes, all 
of which depend on a single cause, means to depend on 
this single cause. In the second case, we must assume 
that there is a powder, force, or faculty of self-existence 
common to all the particular causes assumed by the 
hypothesis ; a power in which all participate and are com- 
prised. But that would give us what we had in the first 
case, an absolute unitary cause. The third supposition, 
which makes each of the " first causes " depend on all the 
rest, is absurd ; for we cannot hold that a thing has for its 
cause and condition of existence a thing of which it is 
itself the cause and condition. Hence we are compelled 
to believe in a being which is the cause of every existing 
thing, without being caused by anything itself, and which 
for that very reason is infinitely more perfect than anything 
else : it is the most real {ens realissimum)^ most poAverful, 
and best being. Since it does not depend on any being or 
on any condition of existence other than itself, it is a se 

1 Monologium, c. 3. 



and per se ; it exists, not because something else exists, but 
it exists because it exists ; that is, it exists necessarily, it 
is necessary being.^ 

It would be an easy matter to deduce pantheism from 
the arguments of the Monologium, Anselra, it is true, 
protests against such an interpretation of his theology. 
With St. Augustine he assumes that the world is created 
ex nihilo. But though accepting this teaching, he modi- 
fies it. Before the creation, he says, things did not exist 
hy themselves, independently of God; hence we say they 
were derived from non-being. But they existed eternally 
for God and in God, as ideas ; they existed before their cre- 
ation, in the sense that the Creator foresaw them and pre- 
destined them for existence.^ 

The existence of God, the unitary and absolute cause of 
the world, being proved, the question is to determine his 
nature and attributes. God's perfections are like human 
perfections; with this difference, however, that they are 
essential to him, which is not the case with us. Man has 
received a share of certain perfections, but there is no 
necessary correlation between him and these perfections ; 
it would have been possible for him not to receive them ; 
he could have existed without them. God, on the con- 
trary, does not get his perfections from without ; he has 
not received them, and we cannot say that he has them ; 
he is and must be everything that these perfections imply ; 
his attributes are identical with his essence. Justice, an 
attribute of God, and God are not two separate things. 
We cannot say of God that he has justice or goodness ; 
we cannot even say that he is just ; for to be just is to 
participate in justice after the manner of creatures. God is 
jutsice as such, goodness as such, wisdom as such, happiness 
as such, truth as such, being as such. Moreover, all of 
God's attributes constitute but a single attribute, by virtue 
1 Monologium, c. 3. 2 /^_^ 9, 




of the unity of his essence {unum est quidq^vAd essentialiter 
de summa substantia dicitur^). 

All this is pure Platonism. But, not content with spirit- 
ualizing theism, Anselm really discredits it when, like a 
new Carneades, he enumerates the difficulties which he finds 
in the conception. God is a simple being and at the same 
time eternal, that is, diffused over infinite points of time ; 
he is omnipresent, that is, distributed over all points of 
space. Shall we say that God is omnipresent and eternal? 
This proposition contradicts the notion of the simplicity of 
the divine essence. Shall we say that he is nowhere in 
space and nowhere in time ? But that would be equiva- 
lent to denying his existence. Let us therefore reconcile 
these two extremes and say that God is omnipresent and 
eternal, without being limited by space or time. The fol- 
lowing is an equally serious difticulty : In God there is no 
change and consequently nothing accidental. Now, there 
is no substance without accidents. Hence God is not a 
substance ; he transcends all substance. Anselm is 
alarmed at these dangerous consequences of his logic, and 
he therefore prudently adds that, though the term " sub- 
stance " may be incorrect, it is, nevertheless, the best we 
can apply to God — si quid digne did potest — and that to 
avoid or condemn it might perhaps jeopardize our faith in 
the reality of the Divine Being. 

The most formidable theological antinomy is the doc- 
trine of the trinity of persons in the unity of the divine 
essence.^ The Word is the object of eternal thought ; it 
is God in so far as he is thought, conceived, or compre- 
hended by himself. The Holy Spirit is the love of God 
for the Word, and of the Word for God, the love which 
God bears himself. But is this explanation satisfactory ? 
And does it not sacrifice the dogma which it professes to 
explain to the conception of unity? St. Anselm sees in 
1 Monologium, c. 17. 2 7^,^ c. 38 ff. 



the Trinity and the notion of God insurmountable difficul- 
ties and contradictions, which the human mind cannot 
reconcile. In his discouragement he is obliged to confess, 
with Scotus Erigena, St. Augustine, and the Neo-Platon- 
ists, that no human word can adequately express the 
essence of the All-High. Even the words ''wisdom" 
(sapientia') and '' being " (^essentia') are but imperfect ex- 
pressions of what he imagines to be the essence of God. 
All theological phrases are analogies, figures of speech, and 
mere approximations.^ 

The Proslogium sive Fides quoerens intellectum has the 
same aim as the Monologium : to prove the existence of 
God. Our author draws the elements of his argument 
from St. Augustine and Platonism. He sets out from the 
idea of a perfect being, from which he infers the existence 
of such a being. We have in ourselves, he says, the idea 
of an absolutely perfect being. Now, perfection implies 
existence. Hence God exists. This argument, which has 
been termed the ontological argument^ found an opponent 
worthy of Anselm in Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutiers 
in Touraine.2 Gaunilo emphasizes the difference between 
thought and being, and points out the fact that we may con- 
ceive and imagine a being, and yet that being may not exist. 
We have as much right to conclude from our idea of an 
enchanted island in the middle of the ocean that such an 
island actually exists. The criticism is just. Indeed, the 
ontological argument would be conclusive, only in case 
the idea of God and the existence of God in the human 
mind were identical. If our idea of God is God himself, 
it is evident that this idea is the immediate and incon- 
trovertible proof of the existence of God. But what the 

1 Monologium, c. 65. 

2 Gaunilo's refutation of the ontological proof is found in the 
works of Anselm under the title : Liber pro insipiente adversus S. 
Anselmi in Proslogio ratiocination em. 



theologian aims to prove is not the existence of the God- 
Idea of Plato and Hegel, but the existence of the personal 
God. However that may he, we hardly know what to 
admire most, — St. Anselm's broad and deep conception, 
or the sagacity of his opponent who, in the seclusion of his 
cell, anticipates the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant. 

The rationalistic tendency which we have just noticed in 
the Monologium and the Proslogium meets us again in the 
Cur Deus homo ? Why did God become man ? The first 
word of the title sufficiently indicates the philosophical 
trend of the treatise. The object is to search for the 
causes of the incarnation. The incarnation, according to 
St. Anselm, necessarily follows from the necessity of 
redemption. Sin is an oft'ence against the majesty of God. 
In spite of his goodness, God cannot pardon sin without 
compounding with honor and justice. On the other hand, 
he cannot revenge himself on man for liis offended honor ; 
for sin is an offence of infinite degree, and therefore 
demands infinite satisfaction ; which means that he must 
either destroy humanity or inflict upon it the eternal pun- 
ishments of hell. Now, in either case, the goal of creation, 
the happiness of his creatures, would be missed and the 
honor of the Creator compromised. There is but one way 
for God to escape this dilemma without affecting his 
honor, and that is to arrange for some kind of satisfaction. 
He must have infinite satisfaction, because the offence is 
immeasurable. Now, in so far as man is a finite being 
and incapable of satisfying divine justice in an infinite 
measure, the infinite being himself must take the matter in 
charge ; he must have recourse to substitution. Hence, the 
necessity of the incarnation. God becomes man in Christ ; 
Christ suffers and dies in our stead ; thus he acquires an 
infinite merit and the right to an equivalent recompense. 
But since the world belongs to the Creator, and nothing 
can be added to its treasures, the recompense which by 



right belongs to Christ falls to the lot of the human 
race in which he is incorporated ; humanity is pardoned, 
forgiven, and saved. 

Theological criticism has repudiated Anselm's theory, 
which bears the stamp of the spirit of chivalry and of 
feudal customs. But, notwithstanding the attacks of a 
superficial rationalism, there is an abiding element of truth 
in it: over and above each personal and variable will there 
is an absolute, immutable, and incorruptible will, called 
justice, honor, and duty, in conformity with the customs 
of the times. 

We have now to speak of the part the great Schoolman 
played in the discussion that arose after his promotion to 
the Archbishopric of Canterbury: I mean the controversy 
between the realists and the nominalists^ or let me rather 
say, between the idealists and the materialists, — for this 
" monkish quarrel " was in reality a conflict between meta- 
physical principles.^ 

§ 33. Realism and Nominalism ^ 

The Catholic or universal Church does not merely aim 
to be an aggregation of particular Christian communities 
and of the believers composing them ; she regards herself 
as a superior power, as a reality distinct from and inde- 
pendent of the individuals belonging to the fold. If the 
Idea^ that is, the general or universal (to Ka66\ov\ were 

^ We should say realists instead of " materialists," were it not for 
the fact that the former term was, during the Middle Ages, applied to 
the opposite side. We mean the party which unduly emphasizes the 
real or material principle, and which in the history of mediaeval phil- 
osophy represents lonianism and Peripateticism, as distinguished from 
Academic idealism. 

2 [C. S. Barach, Zw Geschichte des NominalUmus vor Roscellin, 
Vienna, 1866 ; J. H. Lowe, Der Kampf zwischen dem Realismus und 
Nominalismus im Mittelalter, sein Ursprung und sein Verlauf^ Prague, 
1876. — Tr.] 



not a reality^ " the Church " would be a mere collective 
term^ and the particular churches, or rather the individuals 
composing them, would be the only realities. Hence, the 
Church must be realistic,^ and declare with the Academy : 
Universalia stmt realia. Catholicism is synonymous with 
realism. Common-sense, on the other hand, tends to 
regard universals as mere notions of the mind, as signs 
designating a collection of individuals, as abstractions hav- 
ing no objective reality. According to it, individuals alone 
are real, and its motto is : Universalia su7it nomina ; it is 
nominalistic, individualistic. 

The latter view was advanced and developed about 1090 
by RoscELLiNUS, a canon of Compiegne. According to him, 
universals are mere names, voeis flatus^ and only particular 
things have real existence. Though this thesis seemed 
quite harmless, it was, nevertheless, full of heresies. If 
the individual alone is real, the Church is but a flatus vocis^ 
and the individuals composing it are the only realities. 
If the individual alone is real, Catholicism is no more than 
a collection of individual convictions, and there is noth- 
ing real, solid, and positive, but the personal faith of the 
Christian. If the individual alone is real, original sin is a 
mere phrase, and individual and personal sin alone is real. 
If the individual alone is real, there is nothing real in God 
except the three persons, — the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost ; and the common essence which, according to 
the Church, unites them into one God, is a mere nomen, a 
flatus vocis. Roscellinus, who is especially emphatic on 

1 Let me remind the reader that in the Middle Ages the term 
realist meant idealist, that is, the direct opposite of what it means 
now. The same is true of the words objective and subjective. What 
we call objective, Scholastic philosophy calls subjective (viz., that which 
exists as a subject, substance, or reality independent of my thought) ; 
while what we call subjective is called objective (viz., that which exists 
merely as an object of thought and not as a real subject). This ter- 
minology, the converse of ours, is still found in Descartes and Spinoza. 



the latter point, is not content with defending his tritheis- 
tic heresy; he takes the offensive and accuses his adver- 
saries of heresy. To hold that the Eternal Father himself 
became man in Chiist in order to suffer and die on Cal- 
vary, is a heresy condemned by the Church as Patripas- 
sianism. Now, if the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost have the same essence, and if this essence is an 
objective reality, it follows that the essence of the Father 
or the Father himself became man in Christ : a statement 
which is explicitly contradicted by Scripture and the 
Church herself. 

Roscellinus had pointed out a difficulty in the dogma, — 
an offence for which the Church never forgave him. The 
Council of Soissons condemned his heresy and forced him 
to retract (1092). Nominalism thus anathematized held its 
peace for more than two centuries, and did not reappear 
until about 1320, in the doctrine of Occam. 

The most ardent champions of realism in the controversy 
aroused by the canon of Compiegne were St. Anselm and 
William of Champeaux, a professor at Paris and after- 
wards Bishop of Chalons.^ St. Anselm combated not 
only the dogmatic heresy but also the philosophical heresy, 
namely, the negation of Platonic idealism, the antithesis of 
speculative philosophy. " Reason," he says,^ "is so confused 
with corporeal ideas in their souls (he is speaking of the 
nominalists), that they find it impossible to get rid of them 
and to separate from such material ideas that which ought 
to be considered in itself and independently of all corporeal 
intermixture. . . . They cannot understand that man is 
something more than an individual.'''' 

William of Champeaux deduces the extreme conse- 

^ Died 1121. [Michaud, Guillaume de Champeaux et les ecoles de 
Paris au Xll^e siecle, Paris, 1868. — Tr.] 

2 De Jide trin., c. 2. We were, therefore, justified in translating 
nominalism by the word materialism, p. 219, 




quences of realism. According to him, nothing is real but 
the universal; individuals are mere flatus vocis. From 
the anthropological point of view, for example, there is in 
reality, according to Champeaux, but one man, the univer- 
sal man, the man-type, the genus man. All individuals 
are fundamentally the same, and differ only in the acci- 
dental modifications of their common essence. Champeaux 
is but a step removed from pure pantheism, and yet he 
is the defender of orthodoxy, the passionate adversary of 
the heresy of Roscellinus ! What a strange confusion of 
ideas and interests ! What an intellectual chaos, out of 
which the Catholic theology of our day is with difficulty 
beginning to bring order! 

Between extreme nominalism, which says : Universale 
post rem^ and extreme realism, which has for its motto: 
Universale ante rem^ there was room for a doctrine of 
mediation, which may be summarized as follows : Univer- 
sale neque ante rem nec post rem^ sed In Re. This we get 
in the conceptualism of Abelard. 

§ 34. Abelard 

Pierre Abelard, or Abailard,i was born in Palais, 
near Nantes, 1079, and studied at Paris under William of 
Champeaux, the most skilful controversialist of the period. 
Quarrelling with his teacher, who was jealous of his pupil's 
brilliant talents, Abelard, though only twenty-two years 
of age, opens a school at Melun, then at Corbeil. His 
reconciliation with Champeaux brings him back to Paris, 
where he meets with unparalleled success as a teacher. 
Falling a victim to the vindictiveness of the canon Fulbert, 

1 Ahaelardi Opera, ed. Cousin, 1849-59 ; V. Cousin's Introduction to 
Ouvrnfjes inedits d' Abelard, Paris, 1836 ; Cousin, Fragments de phi- 
losophic scolastique, Paris, 1840 ; Charles de Remusat, Abelard, 2 vols., 
Paris, 1845; [Hausrath, Peter Abelard, Leipsic, 1892]. 



whose niece he had seduced, he retires to the Abbey of St. 
Denis, while Heloise takes the veil at Argenteuil. In his 
retirement he writes the treatise De trinitate^ a work which 
brings down upon his head the wrath of the Church. The 
Council of Soissons condemns him to deliver his book to the 
flames (1122). At Nogent-sur-Seine he founds an Oratory, 
which he dedicates to the Trinity, and particularly to the 
Paraclete. Tliis he afterwards surrenders to Heloise, in 
order to enter u2)on his duties as Abbot of St. Gildas de 
Ruys. Denounced as a heretic by St. Bernard of Clair- 
vaux, he is again condemned, this time to imprisonment 
(1110) ; but he finds an unexpected refuge in the Abbey 
of Clugny, and a noble protector in Peter the Venerable, 
through whose efforts St. Bernard is finally moved to for- 
giveness. These troubles undermine his health, and cause 
his death in 1142. In addition to his De trinitate^ we have 
to mention his Letters^ his Introductio ad theologiam, and his 
Theologia christiayia, his Ethics (liosce te ipsum), the Dia- 
logtte between a Philosopher, a Christian, and a Jew^ j^ub- 
lished by Reinwald (Berlin, 1831), and the treatise Sic 
et no7i, published by V. Cousin in the Onvrages inedits 
d'AUlard (Paris, 1836). 

Abelard is too speculative a thinker to accept the notions 
of Roscellinus, and too positivistic to subscribe to the 
theory of William of Champeaux. According to him, the 
universal exists in the individual ; outside of the individual 
it exists only in the form of a concept. Moreover, though 
it exists in the individual as a reality, it exists there not 
as an essence but as an individual. If it existed in it 
essentially, or, in other terms, if it exhausted the essence 
of the individual, what would be the difference between 
Peter and Paul ? Although Abelard's theory is not iden- 
tical with nominalism, it comes very near it. It is to the 
ultra-idealistic doctrine of Champeaux what the concrete 
idealism of Aristotle is to the abstract idealism of Plato. 



Abelard, who was not acquainted with Aristotle's Meta- 
physics^ divines its contents from the few hints he gets 
from the Organon. That alone would assure him a high 
place among the doctors of the Middle Ages. 

Abelard is, moreover, the most independent, the most 
courageous, and the most relentless among the Schoolmen. 
Though respectful towards the Church, he is not afraid of 
incurring its displeasure, when occasion demands it. He 
agrees with the author of the Our Deus homo f that revealed 
truth and rational truth are identical, but he does not, like 
Anselmus, accept St. Augustine's credo ut intelligam. It 
is surprising with what frankness his Introductio condemns 
the presumptuous credidity of those who indiscriminately 
and hastily accept any doctrine whatsoever he-fore considering 
its merits and whether it is worthy of belief. He is an en- 
thusiastic admirer of Greek philosophy, which, however, as 
he himself confesses, he knows only from the works of St. 
Augustine.^ He finds all the essential doctrines of Chris- 
tianity, its conception of God, the Trinity, and the incar- 
nation, in the great thinkers of antiquity, and the distance 
between Paganism and the Gospel does not seem so great 
to him as that between the Old and the New Testaments. 
It is especially from the ethical point of view, he believes, 
that Greek philosophy has the advantage over the teach- 
ings of the sacred books of Israel. Hence, why should we 
deny the pagan thinkers eternal happiness because they did 
not know Christ ? What is the Gospel but a reform of the 
natural moral law, legis naturalis reformatio ? Shall we 
people hell with men whose lives and teachings are truly 
evangelical and apostolic in their perfection, and differ in 
nothing or very little from the Christian religion ? ^ 

^ Theologia Christiana, Book II. : Qiiaz ex philosnphi.<^ coJlegi testimonia, 
non ex eorum scriptis, quae nunquam fortasse vidi, imo ex lihris B. Augustini 

2 Theologia Christiana, II. 



How does Abelard manage to find such doctrines as the 
Trinity in Greek philosophy? The three persons are re- 
duced to three attributes (proprietates non essentice) of 
the Divine Being : power, wisdom, and goodness. Taken 
separately, he says,^ these three properties : power, knowl- 
edge, and will, are nothing ; but united they constitute the 
highest perfection (tota ferfedio honi). The Trinity is the 
Being who can do what he wills, and who wills what he 
knows to be the best. From the theological stand-point, 
this is monarchism, a heresy opposed to the tritheism of 
Roscellinus. Metaphysically, it is concrete spiritualism, 
which denies that force and thought are separate entities, 
and holds that they are united in the ivill. 

In times of religious fervor, morality is identified with 
piety, ethics with theology, wliile enlightened and sceptical 
periods tend to separate them. The first appearance of a 
system of ethics independent of dogmatics is therefore an 
important symptom. Such a work is Hildebert of Lavar- 
din's popular treatise on ethics, Moralis philosophia,^ an 
imitation of Cicero and of Seneca; such is, above all, the 
much profounder and more scientific treatise of Abelard; 
1^0 see te ipsiim. 

Not that Abelard dreams of separating ethics from onto- 
logy, as our independent moralists do. But the 6v on which 
he bases the moral law is not the divine free-Avill of the 
Latin Fathers. Since God is the best and most perfect 
Being, all his acts are necessary. For, if it be right that a 
thing be done, it is wrong not to do it ; and whoever fails 
to do what reason demands is no less at fault than he who 
does what it prohibits. And just as God's conduct is de- 
termined by reason, we, his creatures, are, in turn, deter- 
mined by the divine will. Inasmuch as God is the absolute 
cause, the Being in whom we live, move, and have our 
being, and who is therefore the source of our power and 

^ Theologia Christiana, ^ See § 32, 



will, it follows that God is, in a certain sense, also the 
author of whatever acts we may perform, and that he does 
what he makes us do Qquod nos facerefacit^.^ 

The tendency to evil is not sin, but the condition of vir- 
tue, for virtue is a struggle, and all struggle presupposes 
opposition. Nor is the act as such the matte?- of the sin ; 
the act as such is indifferent. The sin lies in the form of 
the act, that is, in the will which dictates it. Neither the 
tendency to evil nor the act in itself is sin, but the inten- 
tion, though arrested, of satisfying an evil desire or indulg- 
ing a passion. It follows that the man who has consented 
to an evil action and is hindered in its accomplishment by 
some circumstance or other, is as culpable as though he had 
performed it. The intention deserves punishment as much 
as the act, and he Avho consents to do evil has already done 
evil. The Supreme Judge does not judge appearances and 
the outside, but the spirit. By distinguishing between the 
desire and the intention to surrender one's self to it, be- 
tween the natural craving and the will to follow it, Abelard 
repudiates that exaggerated form of pessimism which re- 
gards the life of man as one perpetual sin ; by characteriz- 
ing the external act as indifferent, he attacks the growing 
formalism of Catholic morality. As was pointed out, the 
conceptualistic theory shows the first signs of the influ- 
ence exerted by Aristotle on the Middle Ages. The ethics 
of Abelard reminds us of Aristotle and his ethics of the 
golden mean.^ 

The influence of Abelard was considerable. We observe 
it in Bernard of Chartres called Sylvcstris,^ in William of 
Conches,'* the learned professor of Paris, who, in his Fhilo- 

1 Cf. the Ethics of Geulincx (§ 5i). 

2 [Cf. Th. Ziegler, Ahcelard's Ethica, Freiburg, 1884. — Tr.] 

^ Megacosmus et Microcosmus [ed. by C. S. Barach, 1876] ; frag- 
ments published by Cousin. 

* Magna de natiiris philnsophia : Dragmaticon philo.^ophke, etc. ; Philo- 
9ophia minor. 



Sophia minor,^ protests against ecclesiastical intolerance, 
in Gilbert de la Porr^e, Bishop of Poitiers,^ in John of 
Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres,^ and even in his adversary 
Hugo of St. Victor. Gilbert is branded as an atheist by 
St. Bernard because he distinguishes between God and the 
Deity, between the person and the essence of the Supreme 
Being. " The divine Spirit," says John of Salisbury in his 
Polycraticus^^ " the creator and giver of life, replenishes not 
only the human soul but every creature in the universe. 
. . . For outside of God there is no substantial creature, 
and things exist only in so far as they share in the divine 
essence. By liis omnipresence God envelopes his creatures, 
penetrates them and fills them full of himself. . . . All 
things, even the most insignificant, reveal God, but each 
reveals him in its own way. Just as the sunlight is dif- 
ferent in the sapphire, the hyacinth, and the topaz, so, too, 
God reveals himself in an infinite variety of forms in dif- 
ferent orders of creation." 

The same freedom of form and the same monistic ten- 
dency as regards the matter, joined with the deepest and 
purest religious feeling, we find in Hugo of St. Victor, 
the first great mystic of the Middle Ages. 

§ 35. Hugo of St. Victor 

We observe a most striking difference between Hugo of 
Blankenburg,^ a monk of St. Victor at Paris, (1096-1140), 

^ PhilosopMa minor, I., 23. 

^ Died 1154. Comm. in Boeth. de trin. ; De sex principiis. 

3 Died 1180. Opera, ed. Giles, 5 vols., Oxford, 1848 ; [also in 
Migne's collection, vol. 199 ; C. Schaarschmidt, Johannes Saresberien- 
sis, etc., Leipsic, 1862. — Tr.]. 

* Polycraticus, I., 1, 5; III., 1; VII., 17. 

5 Opera, Venice, 1588 ; Rouen, 1648 ; [Migne, vols. 175-177; Lieb- 
ner, Hugo von St. Viktor, Leipsic, 1836; Preger, Geschichte der 
deutschen Mystik im Mittelalter, etc., Munich, 1875. — Tr.] 



and his illustrious contemporary. Abelard is a French- 
man : he has a perfect mania for clearness, precision, and 
form; his faith is a matter of knowledge; logic is his 
"god." Hugo is of German origin. His tastes as well 
as his duties exclude him from the brilliant scenes in 
which the genius of Abelard unfolds itself. In the soli- 
tude of his cell, he devotes himself to study, meditation, 
and contemplation. He is no less independent than Abe- 
lard, but with him it is all a matter of feeling rather than of 
reflection. He is a skilful dialectician, but opposed to the 
formalistic rationalism of the School. Although his liber- 
alism differs very much from that of Abelard, he arrives at 
similar results. Rationalism and mysticism both tend 
towards monism. Hence mysticism exercises a no less 
harmful influence upon the dogma than rational criticism, 
during the Middle Ages ; hence, also, mysticism and pan- 
theism are synonymous in France. 

Hugo's views, especially as set forth in his work, De 
sacramentis christianoe Jidei, are surprisingly bold. An 
absolute orthodoxy does not seem to him to be essential to 
salvation, or even possible. We may, according to him, be 
thoroughly convinced of the truth of the dogmas without 
agreeing on their interpretation ; unity of faith by no 
means implies identity of opinions concerning the faith.^ 
It is impossible to have uniform notions of God, because 
God transcends all human conception. This is a charac- 
teristic trait of mysticism, and essentially distinguishes it 
from the rationalism of Abelard and Anselm. Although 
assuming with the latter that the Trinity is simply supreme 
power (the Father), supreme intelligence (the Son or the 
Revealer), and supreme goodness (the Holy Ghost), Hugo 
teaches that the infinite Being is absolutely incompre- 

God is not only supra-intelligible ; nay, we cannot even 
^ De sacramentis, I., p. x., c. 0. 



conceive him by analogy. What, indeed, is analogous to 
God ? The earth ? The heaven ? The spirit ? The soul ? 
None of all these is God. You say: I know that these 
things are not God ; but they bear some resemblance to 
him, and may therefore serve to define him. You might as 
well show me a body in order to give me an idea of mind. 
Your example would surely be inappropriate, and yet the 
distance from mind to body is less than that between God 
and mind. The most opposite creatures differ less among 
themselves than the Creator differs from the creature. 
Hence it is impossible to understand God, who exists only 
for faith.^ For Abelard, the pure dialectician, an incom- 
prehensible God is an impossible God ; for Hugo, the intui- 
tionist and mystic metaphysician, he is the highest reality. 

Hugo was the first, after St. Augustine, to pay serious 
attention to psychology. He is an earnest champion of 
animism in this field. Body and soul are, in his opinion, 
separate substances, without being absolutely opposed to 
each other ; for there is a double bond of union between 
them : the imagination, which is, so to speak, the corporeal 
element of the soul, and sensibility, which is, as it were, 
the spiritual element of the body. The soul possesses 
three fundamental forces : natural force, vital force, and 
animal force. The natural force has its seat in the liver, 
where it prepares the blood and the humors which are dis- 
tributed through the veins over the entire body. It is 
alternately appetitive, retentive, expulsive, and distributive, 
and is common to all animals. The vital force, which 
resides in the heart, manifests itself in the function of 
respiration. It purifies the blood by means of inhaled air, 
and causes it to circulate through the arteries. It also pro- 
duces vital heat.2 The animal or psychic force, which is 

^ De sacramentis, I., p. x., c. 2. 

2 Hugo has a vague idea of the circulation of the blood and the 
difference between venous and arterial blood. He also seems to regard 
the liver as the chief organ for the preparation of the vital fluid. 



situated in the brain, produces sensation, movement, and 
thought. Each of these manifestations of the soul employs 
a different region of the brain. Sensation is connected 
with the anterior portion, movement with the posterior 
portion, and thought with the middle portion of this organ. 
We have not two different souls: a sensitive soul, the 
principle of corporeal life, and an intelligent soul, the prin- 
ciple of thought. The soul (^anima^ and the spirit {ani- 
miis sive spiritus) are one and the same principle. The 
spirit is this principle considered in itself and indepen- 
dently of the body : the soul is this same principle in so far 
as it animates the body.^ 

There is a genuineness about these lines of the De anima 
that contrasts with the fruitless quibblings of dualistic 
spiritualism ; and when in the Lihri didascalici Hugo of 
St. Victor traces the successive stages of psychical life 
from the plant to man, he seems to anticipate evolution 
and comparative psychology. 

§ 86. The Progress of Free Thought 

The disciple of Hugo, the Scotchman Richard,^ Prior 
of St. Victor, outlines a system of religious philosophy in 
his De trinitate that breathes the same spirit of free inves- 
tigation as the writings of his master. This may be seen 
from the following characteristic lines : "I have often 
read," he says, "that there is but one God, that this God 
is one as to substance, three as to persons ; that the divine 

1 De anima, II., 4 : Unus idemque spiritus ad seipsum dicitur spir- 
itus, et ad corpus anima. Spiritus est in quantum est ratione pra^dita sub- 
stantia; anima in quantum est vita corporis. . . . Non ducB animce, 
sensualis et rationalis, sed una eademque anima et in semet ipsa vivit per 
intellectum et corpus sensijicat per sensum. 

2 Died 1174. Opera, Venice, 1506; Paris, 1518; [Migne, vol. 194; 
J. G. V. En.*;elhardt, Richard von St. Victor und Johannes lluyshroek, 
Erlaiigen, 1838. — Tit.]. 



persons are distinguished from each other by a characteris- 
tic property ; that these thi-ee persons are not three gods, 
but one only God. We frequently hear and read such 
statements, but I do not remember ever having read how 
they are j^i'o^ed. There is an abundance of authorities 
on these questions, but an extreme dearth of arguments, 
proofs, and reasons. Hence, the problem is to find a 
lirm, immovable, and certain basis on which to erect the 
system." ^ 

Richard finds such a basis for the dogma of the Trinity 
in the idea of divine love, which necessarily creates an ob- 
ject for itself. But this proof he does not regard as suffi- 
cient. While his De trinitate is conceived in the spirit 
of Abelard, his De coiitemplatione openly espouses Hugo's 
views. Richard abandons the attempt to reach God by 
the reasoning powers, and substitutes feeling for reflection. 
He distinguishes six stages in the mystical ascension of 
the soul towards God. In the higher stages the soul is 
expanded, raised above itself, delivered from itself (dilatatio, 
sublevatio, alienatio, excessus). However, whether you call 
him a mystic or a rationalist, Richard teaches a kind of 
Neo-Platonic emanation and the identity of nature and 
of grace. 

Alanus of Lisle,'^ though an orthodox churchman, 
tries to construct a system of dogmatics by means of a 
strictly mathematical method, and concludes that every- 
thing is in God and God in everything. 

Robert of Melun ^ distinguishes — a serious symptom ! 
— between cventus qui secundum rerum naturam contingunt^ 
et evenhcs qui contingunt secundw/i Dei jpotentiam quce supra 

1 I., ch. 5-6. 

2 Alanus ab insulis, professor at Paris, died 1203. Opera, ed. by 
Visch, Antwerp, 1653; [vol. 120, Migne]. 

3 Died 1173. Summa tlieologice (Haur^au, in the work cited, I., 
pp. 332 ff.). 



rerum naturam est. He is, however, truly devoted to the 
Church and its doctrines, defending it against the heresies 
which begin to threaten it. There are people, he says, 
who deny the miraculous conception of Christ on the 
ground that such a phenomenon would be contrary to the 
natural course of events. But is not God, the author 
of nature, above nature, and has he not the powder to 
change the regular course of nature ? How are these 
doubters going to explain the origin of Adam and Eve? 
Just as the protoplasts could originate without an earthly 
mother, Jesus was able to come into the world without 
a human father. 

In addition to these attempts at Christian philosophy 
we have the Eight Boohs of Sentences by the Englishman, 
Robert Pulleyn,^ and the Four Books of Sentences by 
Peter of Novaro, or the Lombard {Magister sententiarum)? 
Peter the Lombard's work, the success of which soon 
eclipsed Pulleyn's, forms a complete system of dogmatics. 
It considers a whole host of questions which betray the bar- 
renness of Scholastic discussions, but which also show what 
progress has been made by thought in its opposition to the 
guardianship of the Church : How can we reconcile divine 
prescience with free creation? (If God foresaw that he 
would create, then he had to create, and creation is not an 
act of freedom. If God did not foresee it, what becomes 
of his omniscience ?) Where was God before creation ? (He 
could not have been in heaven, for heaven too was created.) 
Could God have made things better than he has made 
them? Where were the angels before the creation of 
heaven ? Can angels sin ? Have they a body ? In what 
form do God and the angels appear to men ? How do de- 

1 Died about 1154. 

2 Died 11G4, Bishop of Paris. Lihri qnatuor senfcntinruin (Venice, 
1477 ; Bale, 1516, etc. Migne, vol. 192) ; [F. Protois, Pierre Lombard, 
etc., Paris, 1881. — Tr.]. 



mons enter into men ? What was Adam's form before his 
appearance on earth ? Why was Eve taken from a side and 
not from some other part of Adam's body ? Why was she 
created wdiile Adam was asleep ? Would man be immortal 
if he had never sinned ? And in that case how would men 
have multiplied ? Would children have come into the world 
as full-grown men ? Why did the Son become man ? Could 
not the Father and the Holy Ghost have become man? 
Could God have become incarnate in woman as easily as 
in man ? These how's and whifs^ multiplied without end, 
betray the na'ive curiosity and the charming indiscretion 
peculiar to the child, but they are at the same time unmis- 
takable symptoms of the coming maturity and freedom of 

The Sentences intensified the pious mystics' dislike for 
the subtleties of dialectics. Gradually abandoning sys- 
tematic theology, mysticism turns its attention to prac- 
tical Christianity, to preaching and the composition of 
devotional books; and while the Master of the Sentences 
professes to serve the Church with no less zeal than Robert 
of Melun, Walter of St. Victor, who died about 1180, de- 
nounces the Lombard, his pupil Pierre of Poitiers, Gilbert 
of Porr^e, and Abelard, as the four labyrinths of France in 
which we must take care not to lose ourselves.^ But this 
opposition merely helped to develop heresy. A distinction 
is made not only between the effects of the divine will and 
the effects of nature, but between philosophical truth and 
religious truth. The view begins to prevail that a thing 
may be true in philosophy without being true in religion, 
and vice versa. A vague suspicion arises that the Church 
is fallible, and that a breach between faith and science, 
theology and philosophy, is not impossible. 

A number of critical thinkers, influenced by Arabian 
pantheism, were bold enough to defend the philosophy of 

1 Du Boulay, Historia universitatis Parisiensis, vol. L, p. 404. 



immanency. They regarded the three persons of the Trin- 
ity either as three successive manifestations of the Divine 
Being, or as three different stages in the development of 
the human conception of God. The Father is the God 
of the Old Testament, God dwelling in heaven ; the Son is 
the God of the New Testament, God bridging the chasm 
and coming nearer to man ; the Holy Ghost is the God of 
the future, the true God conceived as the universal and 
omnipresent Being. God is everything and produces 
everything in all things. He is, therefore, not only pres- 
ent in the consecrated host, but also in the daily bread. 
His spirit manifested itself in the great men of Greece as 
well as in the Prophets, Apostles, and Fathers. There is 
no other heaven than a good conscience, no other hell than 
remorse ; and the worship of saints is idolatry. 

These doctrines, which were ably taught by Simon of 
Tournay, Amalric of Bena, and David of Dinant,^ spread 
rapidly among the clergy and the laity. About the year 
1200 they formed a formidable though secret opposition to 
the supreme authority of tradition. The Church, seriously 
threatened in its unity, averted the danger by burning a 
great number of heretics at the stake and anathematizing 
the physics of Aristotle, from which David of Dinant was 
accused of having drawn his heresies (1209). 

1 For the pantheistic heresy of Amalric and David, see Ch. 
Schmidt, Histoire et doctrine de la secte des Cathares, 2 vols., Paris, 



A. Semi-Realistic Peripateticism 
§ 37. Growing Influence of the Philosophy of Aristotle 

We have pointed out the relation existing between Pla- 
tonic realism and the Catholic system. In Catholicism as in 
Platonism, in the Church as in Plato's State, the universal 
is superior to the particular ; the whole precedes, rules, and 
absorbs the parts ; the Idea is the true reality, the power 
superior to all individual existences. The philosophy of 
a period reflects the spirit peculiar to that period. The 
heroic age of Catholicism, the age of faith which produced 
the Crusades and built the Gothic cathedrals, could not 
but have an essentially idealistic, Platonic, and Augus- 
tinian philosophy. Scotus Erigena and St. Anselm were 
the great representatives of this epoch. But even in the 
writings of these men, and still more so in those of their 
successors, we discover, beneath the seeming harmony of 
their philosophy and theology, contrasts, disparities, and 
contradictions. Erigena culminates in monism ; William 
of Champeaux, in the philosophy of identity ; Abelard, in 
determinism ; Alanus, Gilbert, and Amalric of Bena, in 
pantheism. The Schoolmen of the period, if we may be- 
lieve them, are convinced that reason and the dogma agree ; 
and their philosophy merely aims to prove the agreement 
and to justify the faith. But it is certain that from 1200 
on this conviction was gradually shaken. As soon as Scho- 

^ A. Jourdain, Recherches critiques sur Vdge et Vorigine des traduc- 
tions latines d'Aristote, Paris, 1819; 2d ed., 1843. 



lasticism discriminated between philosophical truth and re- 
ligious truth, it divided into the disparate elements which 
it professed to unite, and sealed its doom. Scholasticism 
had not reached the climax of its development before it 
began to show symptoms of decay. It needed a power- 
ful stimulus to keep it alive ; new life and vigor had to 
be infused into it from without ; this it received from 

At the beginning of the thirteenth century. Christian 
Europe knew nothing of Aristotle's writings except a part 
of the Org anon in the Latin translation ascribed to Boethius. 
From this time on, things rapidly change. About 1250, 
Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, translates the Nicomacliean Ethics 
into Latin. The Dominicans Albert of Bollstadt and St. 
Thomas of Aquin write valuable commentaries on the 
Stagirite, and in every way encourage the translation of his 
works. But it is particularly to the Arabians ^ that the 
Christian Middle Ages owe their knowledge of his treatises 
on physics and ontology. During the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries, Avicenna in Persia and Averroes in Spain pub- 
lish commentaries on them, and either by oral teaching 
or by their written works intensify the interest for Peri- 
patetic philosophy. Two royal friends of letters, Roger II. 
of Sicily and the Emperor Frederick II., surround them- 
selves with Arabian scholars, under whose direction Latin 
translations of Aristotle and his commentators are made. 
These translations are presented to the universities of 
Bologna, Paris, and Oxford. In this way thousands of 
students become acquainted with the doctrines of the great 
Greek. Prior to this time, only Aristotle the logician had 
been studied, and that, too, rather superficially. Hence- 
forth, Aristotle the moralist, the physicist, and the meta- 
physician, becomes an object of study. 

The Aristotelian system was an innovation, and conse- 

1 See p. 210, note 2. 


quently the conservative Chnrcli had to combat it. For was 
not its author both a heathen and a favorite of the disciples of 
the false prophet, and, therefore, the incarnation of all anti- 
Christian tendencies ? Was he not, in a certain measure, 
the source of the heresies of David of Dinant and his con- 
sorts ? The Church condemned Aristotle's treatises on 
physics in 1209, and his Metaphysics in 1215. But she 
soon saw the error of lier ways. From 1250 on, slie 
allowed public lectures on Aristotle to be delivered at 
Paris ; and fifty years later tlie Stagirite became her offi- 
cial philosopher, whom one could not contradict without 
being accused of heresy; he is the precursor Christi in 
rebus naturalibus, sicut Joannes Baj)tista in rebus gratuitls. 
This reaction was no more than natural. True, Aristotle 
was a pagan philosopher, and consequently an opponent of 
the faith; but if, in spite of that, his doctrine should be 
found to agree with the Gospel, it would add all the more 
to the glory of Christ. Aristotle taught the existence of a 
God apart from the universe, and that alone ought to have 
won him the sympathies of the Church threatened by the 
pantheistic heresy, which appealed to Plato for aid. 

More than that ; Aristotle offered the Church a system 
which she had the greatest interest in appropriating, with 
certain limitations. The times had already become familiar 
with the conception of nature. They spoke of nature and 
its course as opposed to God and the effects of his will. 
Christian thought could not help returning to this funda- 
mental conception of science, in the course of its develop- 
ment, while the Church could no more oppose it than she 
could hinder the formation of the European States. She 
could not destroy these States, and therefore made them 
subject to herself ; she was unable to extirpate the con- 
ception of nature, and therefore drew it into her service. 
Now, the metaphysics of Aristotle was admirably fitted for 
such a purpose. For, does not Aristotle regard nature as a 



hierarchical system of which God — and consequently the 
Church — is both the basis and the summit? With the 
admirable tact which seldom failed her, Catholicism recog- 
nized Ajistotle in order to make capital out of him. 

But the chief advantage resulting from an alliance with 
Peripatetic philosophy was the following: As soon as 
Aristotle's system received recognition as the only authen- 
tic expression of human reason, its authority naturally tran- 
scended that of free thought. Hence Peripateticism gave 
the Church a still better means of regulating Scholastic phi- 
losophy than she already possessed. During the Platonic 
period thought enjoyed a relative independence ; its ob- 
ject was to prove the agreement between the dogma and 
natural reason ; and, as we have seen, it was quite rational- 
istic in the performance of this task. Henceforth the ques- 
tion no longer is to prove the agreement between the 
dogma and natural reason, but its agreement with the 
letter of Aristotle's writings. The proof of this agree- 
ment makes Aristotle the highest authority and his system 
the official criterion of a philosopher's orthodoxy. Aristotle 
still stands for reason, but reason now is disciplined and re- 
duced to a fixed code. Left to itself, reason is a change- 
able authority, and its agreement with faith not necessarily 
a settled fact. What to St. Anselm seemed agreement, 
Abelard, Gilbert, Amalric, and David regarded as contra- 
dictory. The mind is mobile, revolutionary ; the letter is 
eminently conservative. By adopting the philosophy of 
Aristotle, the Church made use of the most illustrious 
thinker in order to enslave thought. 

The advantages arising from this alliance with Peripa- 
tetic philosophy were, it is true, accompanied by disadvan- 
tages that became serious dangers in the sequel. In the 
first place, the truth of the dogma was proved by its agree- 
ment with Aristotle ; this raised the, authority of Aristotle 
and philosophy above the authority of the Church. Then 


the influence of the Stagirite necessarily introduced into 
Scholasticism a new element, not very favorable to the 
spiritual omnipotence of the Church : the taste for science 
and the spirit of analysis. 

§ 38. The Peripatetics of the Thirteenth Century 

The Church was converted to Peripateticism by a num- 
ber of eminent thinkers who were less original than St. 
Anselm and Abelard, but, owing to the more abundant 
material at their disposal, more learned than their prede- 
cessors. At their head stands the Englishman Alex- 
ander OF Hales,^ professor of theology at Paris, whose 
commentaries on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard and 
the De anima of Aristotle won for him the title doctor 

William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris,^ whose learn- 
ing equalled that of Alexander, wrote a series of treatises 
inspired by Aristotle, and a voluminous work, De universo, 
a kind of metaphysics, the wonderful erudition of which 
proves that the author was thoroughly acquainted with the 
Arabian commentaries on the Stagirite. His Peripatetic 
leanings, however, did not hinder him from denying the 
eternity of the world, nor from believing in creation. Prov- 
idence, and the immortality of the soul. 

The Dominican Vincent of Beauvais,^ the teacher of 
the sons of St. Louis, gathers the treasures of learning and 
of Peripatetic speculation in his Speculum quadruplex : na- 
turale, doctrinale, morale^ et historiale. He cites almost all 
the writings of Aristotle, and already speaks triumphantly 
of the nova logica as opposed to the logica vetus. He is an 

1 Died 1245. Summa universce tJieologice, Venice, 1576. 

2 Died 1249. Opera, ed. Blaise Leferon, Orleans, 1674; [N. Valois, 
Guillaume d'A uvergne, Paris, 1880]. 

^ Died 1264. Speculum doctrinale, Strasburg, 1473 ; Speculum qua- 
druplex, etc., 1624. 



open adherent of the Lyceum on the subject of universals, 
which still forms the chief topic of discussion among the 
Schoolmen, and declares with Abelard : Universale in re. 
Universals are real, even more real than particulars, with- 
out, however, existing independently of particulars. As in 
the system of Abelard, universals and particulars are ^no 
longer abstractly and mechanically juxtaposed in the meta- 
physics of Vincent, but are joined together by the principle 
of individuation {incor]poratio). A new terminology is used 
by this Schoolman to express Aristotelian conceptions. 
The TL eaTL of Aristotle, for example, becomes the quidditas. 
The philosophical vocabulary is developed and enriched at 
the expense of Ciceronian Latin, which the Renaissance 
afterwards undertakes to rescue from the neglect of the 

Though a realist, in so far as he regards the universal as 
a reality, Vincent makes an important advance towards 
nominalism by distinguishing between universale meta- 
physicum and universale logicum^ i. e., between the specific 
type which really exists in the individuals composing the 
species and the general notion which corresponds to this 
type, and is but an abstraction of thought. This distinc- 
tion is a nominalistic deviation from realism, for the pure 
realism of Champeaux and Anselm absolutely iden- 
tifies the specific type and the general idea. It is, how- 
ever, far from being pure nominalism, for nominalism is 
the absolute negation of the universale inetaphysicum as an 
objective reality. 

Another Dominican, who has already been mentioned,^ 
Albert of Bollstadt,^ wrote commentaries on most of 
Aristotle's works, and labored with untiring zeal for the 

1 §37. 

2 Albertus Magnus, died at Cologne in 1280. Opera, ed. by P. 
Jammy, Lyons, 1651 (21 folio vols.). [J. Sighart, Albertus Magnus, 
etc., Regensburg, 1857; Eng. tr. by Dixon, 1876.] 



propagation of the Peripatetic philosophy. He manifests 
a remarkable taste for natural science, in winch respect 
he anticipates Roger Bacon, Raymundns LuUus, and the 
scientific Renaissance. We see how dangerous the Peri- 
patetic alliance proved to the Church! 

The Franciscan John of Fidanza, known as St. Bona- 
VENTUEA,! is Icss learned and less interested in nature, but 
more speculative than Albert. He admires both Aristotle 
and Plato, rational philosophy and contemplative mysti- 
cisni, piety and knowledge, thus uniting in his person two 
elements which were growing farther and farther apart. 
The Church recognized his services by canonizing him, and 
the School bestowed upon him the title of doctor seraphicus. 

Finally, two illustrious rivals complete the Peripatetic 
galaxy of the tliirteenth century and finish the work of 
conciliation between the Church and the Lyceum : the 
Dominican St. Thomas of Aquin and the Franciscan Duns 

§ 39. St. Thomas of Aquin 

Thomas of Aquin ^ (Aquino), the son of a noble family 
in the kingdom of Naples, preferring the peaceful pleas- 

1 Died 1274. Author of a Commentary on the Sentences of the Lom- 
bard^ of an Itinerarium mentis in Deujn, conceived in the spirit of the 
mystics of St. Victor, etc. Edition of Strasburg, 1482, Rome, 1588, ff ., 
etc.; [K. Werner, Die Psychologie und Erkenntnisslehre des Boriaventura, 
Vienna, 1876.] 

2 Opera omnia, Rome, 1570 (18 foho vols.); Venice, 1594; Ant- 
werp, 1612; Paris, 1660; Venice, 1787; Parma (25 vols.), 1852-71; 
[Thomas Aquinatis opera omnia jussu impensaque Leonis XIIL, P. M. 
edita, vols. 1. & II., Rome (Freibm^g i. B.), 1882, 84]; Ch. Jouxdain, 
La philosophic dc Saint Thomas d' Aquin, Paris, 1858; Cacheux, Dc la 
philosophie de Saint Thomas, Paris, 1858; [Karl Werner, Der heilige 
Thomas von Aquino, 3 vols., Regensbm^g, 1858 ff. ; Z. Gonzales, Estudios 
sohre la filosojia de S. Tomds, 3 vols., Manila, 1864 (German translation 
by C. J. Nolte, Regensburg, 1885). — Tr,] He was called doctor 




ures of study to the adventurous life of a feudal lord, 
entered the order of St. Dominic, in spite of the formal pro- 
tests of his father. On the eve of his departure from Italy 
to Paris, he was kidnapped by his brothers and imprisoned 
in the paternal castle, from which he managed to escape 
two years later. Taking up his abode at Cologne, he be- 
came an enthusiastic disciple of Albert the Great and a 
profound student of Aristotle. Henceforth all his efforts 
were directed towards acquainting the Christian Occident 
with the Aristotelian philosophy as set forth in the Greek 
text, particularly with the Physics and Meta^jJiysics, of 
which only Latin translations made from Arabian trans- 
lations were known. He afterwards returned to the 
Peninsula, where he died in 1274, scarcely fifty years 
of age. 

Philosophy is indebted to him for a series of treatises 
bearing on the metaphysics of Aristotle (Opuscula de materice 
natura, de ente et essentia, de principiis naturoe, de principio 
individuationis, dc imiversalihus, etc.). His Summ a theologicc^ 
which gradually eclipsed the Sentences of Peter the Lom- 
bard, forms the basis of the dogmatic teachings of the 

The philosophy of St. Thomas has no other aim than the 
faithful reproduction of the principles of the Lyceum. We 
are therefore interested, not so much in the contents, as in 
the Neo-Latin form in which the ideas of the Stagirite are 
expressed. Our modern philosophical vocabulary is in part 
derived from the system of St. Thomas. 

Philosophy proper or the first philosophy has for its ob- 
ject being as such {ens in quantum ens = to 6v fj 6v). There 
are two kinds of beings {cntia) : objective, real, essential 
beings {esse in re), and beings that are mere abstractions of 
tliought or negations, such, for example, as poverty, blind- 
ness, and imperfection in general. Poverty, blindness, 
and })rivation exist; they are ciitia {ovra)^ but not cssen- 



tim {ovalai)} Essences, substances, or beings properly 
so called {essentice^ suhstantice) are, in turn, divided into 
simple or pure essences, and essences composed of form 
and matter. There is but one simple essence or pure form : 
God. All the rest are composed of matter and form. 

Matter and form are both beings (entia); they differ 
from each other in that form is in actu, while matter 
is as yet merely in potentia. In a general sense, matter 
is everything tliat can be, everything that exists in pos- 
sibility. According as the possible thing is a substance or 
an accident, metaphysics distinguishes between materia ex 
qua aliquid fit (potential, substantial being, — example : the 
human seed is materia ex qua liomo fit^ a potential man) 
and materia in qua aliquid fit (potential accident, — exam- 
ple : man is materia in qua gignitur intellectus). Materia 
ex qua does not exist in itself ; materia in qua exists as a 
relatively-independent subject {suhjectum). The form is 
what gives being to a thing.'^^ According as this thing is a 
substance or an accident, we have to deal with a substan- 
tial form or an accidental form. The union of matter {esse 
in potcntia) and form {esse in actu) is generatio QylveaOaC)^ 
which is, in turn, substantial generation or accidental gen- 
eration. All forms, God excepted, are united with matter 
and individualized by it, constituting genera, species, and 

Only the form of forms remains immaterial and is sub- 
ject neither to generation nor decay. The more imperfect 
a form is, the more it tends to increase the number of in- 
dividuals realizing it ; the more perfect a form is, the less 
it multiplies its individuals. The form of forms is no 
longer a species composed of separate individuals, but a 
single being within which all differences of person are 
constantly merged in the unity of essence. Since God 

Opui^cnlum de ente et essentia. 
Opusc. de principiis naturce. 

3 Id., c. 3. 



alone is pm^e form (actus purus)^ without matter and con- 
sequently without imperfection (matter being that which 
does not yet exist, or the lack of being), God alone is the 
perfect and complete knowledge of thingSo^ He possesses 
absolute truth because he is absolute truth. Truth is the 
agreement of thought with its object. In man, there is 
more or less agreement between thoughts and objects ; 
they are, however, never identical. God's ideas not only 
exactly reproduce the things, they are the things them- 
selves. Things first exist, and then man thinks them : in 
God, thought precedes the things, which exist only because 
and as he thinks them. Hence there is no difference in 
him between thought and being; and, since tliis identity 
of knowledge and its object constitutes truth, God is truth 
itself. From the fact that he is the truth it follows that 
he exists ; for it is not possible to deny the existence of 
truth ; the very persons who deny it assume a reason for 
doing so, and thus maintain its existence.^ 

The demonstration of the existence of God is the first 
and principal task of philosophy. Philosophy could not, 
however, perform this task, or even have a conception of 
God, had not the Creator first revealed himself to man in 
Jesus Christ. In order that the human mind might direct 
its efforts towards its real goal, it was necessary for God 
to point it out, that is, to reveal himself to humanity at 
the very beginning. No philosophy is legitimate that does 
not take revelation for its starting-point and return to it as 
its final goal : it is true only when it is ancilla ecclesioe, and, 
in so far as Aristotle is the precursor of Christ in the scien- 
tific sphere, ancilla Aristotelis. The Church of God is the 
goal towards which all things tend here below. 

Nature is a hierarchy in which each stage is the form of 
the lower stage and the matter of the higher stage. The 

^ Summa theolorjice, L, question 4. 
2 Id., question 2, article 1. 



hierarchy of bodies is completed in the natural life of man, 
and this life, in turn, becomes the foundation, and, in a 
certain measure, the material for a higher life, the spiritual 
life, wliich is developed in the shadow of the Church and 
nourished by its Word and its sacraments, as the natural 
life is nourished by the bread of the earth. The realm of 
nature is therefore to the realm of giuce, the natural man 
to the Christian, philosophy to theology, matter to the sacra- 
ment, the State to the Church, and the Emperor to the 
Pope, what the means are to the end, the plan to the exe- 
cution, the potentia to the actus. 

The universe, Avhich consists of the two realms of nature 
and of grace, is the best possible world. For God in his 
infinite wisdom conceived the best of worlds ; he could not 
have created a less perfect world without detracting from 
his wisdom. To say that God conceived perfection and 
realized an imperfect world would presuppose an opposi- 
tion between knowledge and will, between the ideal prin- 
ciple and the real principle of things, which contradicts 
thought as well as faith. Hence the divine will is not a 
will of indifference, and the freedom of God, far from being 
synonymous with caprice and chance, is identical mth 

In spite of seeming contradictions, the same is true of 
the human will. Just as the intellect has a principle (rea- 
son) which it cannot discard without ceasing to be itself, 
the will has a principle from which it cannot deviate with- 
out ceasing to be free : the good. The will necessarily 
tends to the good ; but sensuality tends to evil and thus 
paralyzes the efforts of the will. Hence sin arises, which 
has its source, not in the freedom of indifference or of 
choice, but in sensuality."^ There is moral predestina- 
tion, but not arbitrary predestination, for the divine will 
itself is subordinated to reason. Determinism extended 
^ Summa tlieologice, question 82 ; Contra gentiles, III. 




to God loses the offensive character which it had in the 
theology of St. Augustine. 

The system of St. Thomas marks both the climax of the 
development of Catholic metaphysics and the beginning of 
its fall. Before the days of St. Thomas, Scholastic philos- 
ophy had shown symptoms of decline ; in him it shines 
with a light before which the most illustrious names pale. 
His devotion to the Church and its interests, his philosophi- 
cal talents, which he employs in the service of Catholicism, 
and his faith in the perfect harmony between the dogma 
and philosophical truth as set foith in Aristotle, make him 
the most typical doctor of the Church after St. Augustine 
and St. Anselm. But his faith, ardent though it be, 
does not possess the strength of an unshakable convic- 
tion; it is rather a willed faith, an energetic will con- 
stantly struggling against the thousand difficulties which 
reflection throws in its way. From St. Thomas downwards, 
reason and Catholic faith, official theology and philosophy, 
are differentiated and become more or less clearly con- 
scious of their respective principles and interests. Meta- 
physics continued, for a long time, to be subject to 
theology ; but though dependent, it henceforth had a 
separate existence, a sphere of activity of its own. 

Philosophy proper receives its official sanction, as it 
were, by the organization of the four Parisian faculties, an 
event which occurred during the lifetime of St. Thomas. 
This period marks the decline of Scholasticism. The 
theologians themselves, with John Duns Scotus at their 
head, do all they can do to hasten it. 

§ 40. Duns Scotus 

John Duns Scotus of Dunston (Northumberland), a 
monk of the order of St. Francis, professor of philosophy 
and theology at Oxford and Paris, was the most industri- 



ous among the Schoolmen. Although he died at the age 
of thirty-four (1308), his writings fill a dozen volumes. ^ 

We have just seen how philosophy was officially recog- 
nized as a science distinct from theology. During the 
times of Duns Scotus, i. e., about the end of the thirteenth 
century, philosophy formed an independent science by the 
side of theology, and even dared to oppose the latter. The 
philosophers, said Duns Scotus, differ from the theologians 
as to whether man has any need of acquiring, by super- 
natural means, knowledge wliich his reason cannot attain 
by natural means. This statement not only shows the 
existence of a philosophy that is independent of theology, 
but the disagreement which has existed between pliiloso- 
phers and theologians ever since. 

Duns Scotus, like a genuine Schoolman, occupies a 
position between the two camps. With the theologians 
he recognizes the need of revelation ; but he agrees with 
the philosophers that St. Augustine is wrong in assuming 
that man can know ahsoliUely nothing of God without 
supernatural revelation. With the theologians he de- 
clares that the Bible and the teachings of the Church are 
the supreme norms of philosophic thought ; but he is, on 
the other hand, a philosopher and a rationalist to the ex- 
tent of believing in the authority of the Bible and of 
ecclesiastical tradition, only because the doctrines of the 
Bible and the Church conform to reason. Hence reason is, 
in his eyes, the highest authority, and the sacred texts have 
for him but a derived, conditional, and relative authority. 
With this as his guiding principle, he does what no School- 
man had done before him : he attempts to prove the credi- 
bility of Holy Writ, and, in choosing his arguments, he evi- 
dently gives the preference to the internal proofs.^ 

1 Opera omnia, Lyons, 1639. For the system of Duns Scotus, see 
Rioter, Vol. VIII. ; [Werner, Stock!]. 
^ D. S Fn Maghtnim sententiarum. 



The moi-e familiar we become with Scholastic literature, 
the less apt are Ave to exaggerate the progress of free 
thought from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries. 
The historians who endeavor to trace all modern negations 
to the Reformation ignore, or affect to ignore, the fact that 
in the ninth century the Catholic Scotus Erigena denied 
eternal punishment ; that in the twelfth, the Catholic Abe- 
lard declared the teachings of the Greek philosophers to be 
superior to those of the Old Testament ; that in the thir- 
teenth, a great number of Catholics refused to believe in 
the miraculous conception and in the resurrection of Christ ; 
that in the same century, or two hundi^ed years before the 
Reformation, and at a time when the power of the Holy 
See was at its height, St. Thomas and Duns Scotus found 
themselves obliged to prove, with all the arts of logic, the 
need of revelation and the credibility of the Divine Word ; 
finally, that these submissive, devoted, and orthodox doc- 
tors of the Church combined with their Christian convic- 
tions a freedom of thought, the like of which is but rarely 
met with in the Protestant theology of the seventeenth 

The Thomistic system borders on pantheism, Avhile the 
philosophy of Duns Scotus is decidedly Pelagian ; the illus- 
trious Dominican sacrifices the freedom of the individual 
to the great glory of God ; while the Franciscan doctor 
believes that he is rendering God a no less signal service 
by exalting the individual and free-will at the expense of 

Duns Scotus serves the order to which he belongs as 
faithfully as his God and the Church. The great mediaeval 
orders are the forerunners of the theological parties of 
Protestantism. They are, at present, merged in the indi- 
visible unity of the Roman orthodoxy ; during the period 
of which we are speaking, they were real parties, opposed 
to each other, not only on practical questions, but on points 




of doctrine which do not, even now, strike us as secondary. 
The rivahy between these two orders often infused new 
life into Scholasticism. The contest between Duns Scotus 
and the Scotists against Thomism really represents a strug- 
gle for Church supremacy between two powerful orders. 
The glory reflected upon the Franciscan order by St. 
Bonaventura was dimmed by the fame of the Dominicans, 
Albert the Great and Thomas of Aquin. Jealous of the 
good name of his order. Duns Scotus endeavors to expose 
and refute what he calls the errors of Thomism. Thomas 
remaining true to the dogmatic and didactic tenets of his 
order, is the apostle of faith and grace. Duns Scotus, 
whose heart is also filled with the spirit of his order, — a 
spirit of living and practical piety, — becomes the apostle 
of action, meritorious works, and human freedom. With 
an acumen that is wholly in keeping with his title, doctor 
subtilis^ he undertakes the criticism of St. Thomas. 

Thomistic determinism, assuming as it does the superi- 
ority of the intellect over the will, has the true ring of 
Catholic philosophy. By bending the Avill beneath the yoke 
of an absolute principle, it humiliates the self-love of the 
individual, destroys his confidence in his own powers, and 
makes him conscious of his insignificance. But when the 
foundations of the system are laid bare they are found to 
be very weak. Thus, on the one hand, it makes God him- 
self a relative being, whose will is the slave of his intelli- 
gence. On the other hand, it does more than humiliate 
the individual: it discourages him and drives him to 
despair or moral indifference. Should the Church adopt 
this system, it would without fail soon cease to be the 
sanctuary of virtue and the mother of saints. Hence the 
'primacy of the intelligence must be opposed by that of 
the will,^ and for determinism we must substitute the true 

1 The voluntarism of Duns Scotus is to the intellectualism of Thomas 
what the Kant of the Critique of Practical Reason is to the Kant of the 



philosophy and the real thought of Aristotle: the doctrine 
of divine and human liberty. 

If we would not confuse t^\c true God with the Fate or 
the nahtra naturans of the Neo-Platonists, Ave cannot hold, 
with the Thomists, that the world is the necessary product 
of his essence, his intelligence or his will. God created the 
world by an act of freedom. It would have been possible 
for him not to create it. His will was not inclined that 
way by any higher principle, for it is itself the highest 
principle of divine acts. The existence of the world, far 
from being necessary, is the free effect of the free will of 
God.i Abelard is therefore wrong in assuming that God 
could create only what he created, and that what he cre- 
ated he created necessarily; and Thomas is in error when 
he teaches that the world is necessarily the best possible 
world. God does not create all that he can create; he 
creates only what he desires to call into existence. 

The first cause of things, the divine will, is consequently 
also the supreme law of created spirits. Goodness, jus- 
tice, and the moral law are absolute, only in so far as they 
are willed by God ; if they were absolute independently of 
the divine will, God's power would be limited by a law not 
depending on him, and he would no longer be the highest 
freedom or, consequently, the Supreme Being. In reality, 
the good is therefore the good, only because it is God's 
pleasure that it should be so.^ God could, by virtue of his 
supreme liberty, supersede the moral law which now gov> 
erns us by a new law, as he superseded the Mosaic law by 
that of the Gospel ; above all, he could — and who knoAvs 
but what he really does in many cases ? — exempt us from 
doing good without our ceasing, on that account, to be 

Critique of Pure Reason, and what the pan tlielism of Schopenhauer is 
to the panlogism of Hegel. 

1 In M. sentent., L, distinction, 39, question, 1, 

2 Id., distinction 44. 



good. In the creation as in the government of the world, 
God knows no other law, no other rule, no other principle, 
than his own freedom. And it is because he is free to 
exempt us, in case he so desires, from carrying out any 
particular law of the moral code that the Church in turn 
has the right to grant dispensations. If God is not abso- 
lutely free in this matter, as he is in all things ; if he is, 
as Thomas of Aquin claims, a being absolutely determined 
in his will by his supreme wisdom, what becomes of the 
right of indulgences ? Like God, man is free ; the Fall did 
not deprive him of free-will; he has formal freedom, i.e., 
he may will or not will ; and he has rnaterial freedom, i. e., 
he can will A. or will B. (freedom of choice or indifference). 

These doctrines, though diametrically opposed to St. 
Augustine's, could not be disagreeable to the Church, the 
Pelagian tendencies of which they reflected and encour- 
aged. But they concealed a danger, and the Church, which 
failed to canonize Duns Scotus, seems to have appreciated 
it. By his emphatic affirmation of individual liberty, the 
subtle doctor proclaimed a new principle, an anti-authori- X 
tative power, which grew from century to century, and 
finally led to the emancipation of the religious conscience 
and the downfall of ecclesiastical tradition as the su- 
preme authority in matters of faith and conscience. So, 
too, on the subject of universals, Duns Scotus approaches 
nominalism and empiricism, though striving to remain true 
to the realistic and rationalistic system upheld by the 
Church. All his sympathies are, at bottom, for the indi- 
vidual ; for the will is his principle ; and though reason is 
common to all, the will is what characterizes the individual. 
The question of individuation is his favorite problem. His 
contemporary, Henry Goethals,^ following the example of 
William of Champeaux, regarded the principle of individu- 

1 1217-1293. Quodlibeta theologica, Paris, 1518 ; Summa theoL, Paris, 
1520; Ferrara, 1646. 



ation as a mere negation; wliile St. Thomas based it on 
matter (the non-being). Duns Scotus, however, declares 
it to be a positive principle, and gives it the name of 
lioecceitas. The individual is, according to him, the sum of 
two equally positive and real principles : the quidditas (the 
universal, or the type common to the individuals of one and 
the same species) and the hcecceitas, the principle of the 
individuality or of the difference of individuals. The quid- 
ditas has no reality apart from the licecceitas^ nor the hccc- 
ceitas apart from the quidditas. Reality is found in the 
union of the two principles, of the ideal and the real, that 
is, in the individual. 

By his doctrines of individual liberty and Jiaecceitas Duns 
Scotus paves the way for the nominalism of his disciple 
Occam. His doctrine of accidental creation hastens the 
rupture between science and the authoritative rationalism 
of the Church, and the advent of modern empiricism ; for 
if the law^s of nature and the moral law itself are contin- 
gent, all science and morality itself depend on experience 
as their only basis. To place the will in the first rank in 
metaphysics and reason in the second, means to subordinate 
reasoning to the methods of observation and experience. 
Duns Scotus not only hastens the breach between science 
and dogma; but, the breach seems to be already made 
when, in his Qucestioiies suhtilissima;., he rejects innate 
ideas, and declares the proof of the immortality of the soul 
and of the existence of God to be impossible from the 
standpoint of science. 


§ 41. Reappearance of Nominalism, Durand, Occam, 
Buridan, D'Ailly 

The distance from the conceptualism of Vincent of Beau- 
vais, lliomas of Aquin, and Duns Scotus to nominalism is 



2 lot great. Indeed, the semi-realism of Duns Scotus re- 
sembles the doctrine of Roscellinus more closely than that 
of Champeaux. William Dukand of Saint-Pourcain,^ 
first a disciple of St. Thomas, then influenced by the doc- 
trines of Scotus, comes still nearer to nominalism in 
formulatina- the followino- thesis : To exist means to he an 
individual. Finally, the Franciscan William of Occam,^ 
the precursor and fellow-countryman of John Locke, openly 
antagonizes realism as an absurd system. According to 
the realists, he says, the universal exists in several things 
at once ; now the same thing cannot exist sinmltaneously 
in several different things ; hence the universal is not a 
thing, a reality (res), but a mere sign that serves to desig- 
nate several similar things, a word {nomen) ; and there is 
nothing real except tlie individual.^ 

Scepticism is tlie necessary consequence of nominalism, 
which has already been outlined in § 33. Science has 
for its object the general, the universal, the necessary. 
The science of man, let us say in the spirit of Plato, does 
not deal with Peter for the sake of Peter, or with Paul for 
the sake of Paul; it studies Peter and Paul in order to 
know what man is. It is the universal man, the species 
man, whom it seeks in the individual. The same is true 
of all sciences. Now, if the universal is a mere word 
having no objective reality, and if the individual alone is 
real, then there can be no anthropology, nor any science. 

^ Born in Auvergne, died 1332, Bishop of Meaux. Comment, in 
mag. sentent., Paris, 1508; Lyons, 1568. 

2 Died 1313. Quodlibeta septejn, Strasburg, 1491 ; Summa totius 
logices, Paris, 1488 ; Oxford, 1675 ; Qumstiones in lihros physicoj'um, 
Strasbni'g, 1491 ; Qiicestiones el decisiones in qnatuor lib. sent., Lyons, 
1495; Centilogium theol., Lyons, 1496; Expositio aurea super totam 
artem veterem, Bologna, 1496. [Cf. W. A. Schreiber, Die politischen und 
religiosen Doctrinen unter Ludivig dem Baier, Landshut, 1858 ; Prantl, 
Geschichte der Logik, Vol. TIL, pp. 327-420. — Tr.] 

^ Occam, In I. I. sententiarum, dist. 2, question 8. 



We can know and tell what both Peter and Paul are ; we can 
study each particular plant and animal ; but the universal 
man, plant, and animal can never become objects of science, 
because they nowhere exist. Hence, nominalism is scep- 
tical of science ; its motto agrees with that of Protagoras : 
The individual is the measure of all tJmigs. 

The highest science, theology, does not escape William's 
sceptical criticisms. He accepts the teaching of his master, 
and declares that it is impossible to demonstrate the exist- 
ence and unity of God.^ The ontological and cosmologi- 
cal arguments are equally weak, in his judgment, and the 
necessity for the existence of a first cause seems to him to 
be a purely hypothetical necessity. Indeed, reason may 
invariably oppose the no less probable theory of the infinite 
causal series. Hence, there can be no rational or scientific 
theology ; and if the science pursued by such thinkers as 
Origen, Augustine, Anselmus, and Thomas is impossible, 
then Scholasticism itself becomes a mere heap of barren 
hypotheses. Science belongs to God, faith to man. 

Let the doctors of the Church recognize the futility of 
their speculations, and become interpreters of practical 
truth and propagators of the faith ! Let the Church 
abandon this empty, terrestrial science ! Let her cast off 
all the worldly elements with which she has been tainted 
by her contact with the world ; let her reform and return 
to the simplicity, purity, and holiness of the Apostolic 
times ! Though Occam sided with the King in the quarrel 
between Philip the Fair and the Holy See ; and though 
he fled from France and offered his services to Louis of 
Bavaria,^ who was also at loggerheads with the Vicar of 
Christ, he was neither hostile nor indifferent to the Church. 

1 Occam, In I. I. sentent., dist. 3, quest. 4 ; Centilogium theologicum, 
f. 1. 

2 He is said to have addressed the following remark to Louis : Tu 
me defendas gl.adio, ego te defcndam calamn. 




On the contrary, like all true followers of St. Francis, he 
felt a deep love for liis spiritual mother. And because he 
loved her, he desired to see her great and holy and removed 
from the harmful influences of the world ; he could not 
approve of the Pope's interference with the temporal 
affairs of the European States. It was his devotion to the 
Church that forced him to make common cause with the 
enemies of the Holy Father. 

Nominalism not only weakens the alliance between faith 
and science ; it also attempts to sever the bond which had 
for centuries united the Church with the world. Its reap- 
pearance not only marks the decline of Scholasticism ; sim- 
ultaneously with it, we notice the first symptoms of the 
decadence of the Papal power, to which the European mon- 
archs henceforth offer a successful resistance. The nomin- 
alism of Occam, though sincere in its desire to promote the 
welfare of the Church, nevertheless resembles all philos- 
ophy ; it mirrors the ruling purpose of the age, i. e., the 
necessity on part of the secular powers, the states, the 
nations, the languages, intellectual culture, the arts, the 
sciences, and philosophy, to shake off the yoke of Christian 
Rome. From the reappearance of nominalism we date the 
first beginnings of national life and modern languages, and 
the opposition to the political, religious, and literary cen- 
tralization, to which the heir of Caesarean traditions had 
subjected Europe. Nominalism therefore conceals beneath 
its seeming devotion to the Church and its pious contempt 
for science, a mass of tendencies hostile to Catholicism. 
And the Church gives it the same reception which she had 
given Aristotle a century before : she condemns it. But 
the heresy had taken deep root this time ; it satisfied the 
political, intellectual, and religious strivings of the epoch 
too well to be suppressed. 

The doctrines of Durand and Occam gave the signal for 
the struggle between the realists and nominalists. The con- 




flict raged during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ; 
it transformed the universities into veritable fields of battle 
— the expression is not a metaphor — and continued down 
to the Renaissance and Reformation. Realism had dis- 
tinguished followers during the fourteenth century, e. g., 
WaltePv- BuPvLEIGH, who defended it in the name of science 
and philosox)hy ; Thomas of BradwaPvDLNTE,! Archbishop 
of Canterbury, who upheld it in the name of the faith, and 
accused Occam of Pelagianism ; Thomas of Stiiasbuiig,^ 
and MaPvSILIUS of Ikghen,^ the first rector of the Univer- 
sity of Heidelberg, who tried to reconcile the opposing doc- 
trines. But even in its conceptualistic form, it attracted 
only the most speculative minds ; the clear and well-defined 
conceptions of nominalism appealed more and more to Avhat 
is called common-sense. In spite of the obstinate resistance 
of the realistic party and of the government which this 
party had succeeded in interesting in its behalf, the teach- 
ings of Occam eventually made their way into the Sorbonne, 
where they were ably reproduced by John BuRroAN,* and 
more or less modified in the dogmatic sense, by Pierke 
D'AiLLY,^ the eagle of France. 

Nominalism represented the reformatory tendencies of 
the times, and could not but triumph. 

§ 42. Downfall of Scholasticism. Revival of the Interest 
in Nature and Experimental Science. Roger Bacon. 

In vain did the nominalist Pierre d'Ailly struggle 
against the conclusions of Occam, and attempt to defend 

1 Died 1349. 2 Died 1357. « Died 1396. 

^ Died about 1360. He wrote Summa dialect., Paris, 1487 ; Cnmp. 
lo(j., Venice, 1480 ; and a series of commentaries on Aristotle, pub- 
lished in Paris and Oxford. 

^ Died 1425. Qucestiones super qualuor I. sent., Strasburg, 1490 ; 
Tractatus et sermones, 1490. 



Scholasticism against the claims of scepticism. The alliance 
between the essential elements of Scholasticism had been 
seriously weakened. It is true, Occam, Durand, Buridan, 
and Gabriel Biel,^ are sceptics only in metaphysics ; still by 
holding that we can know nothing of God, Providence, the 
Fall, Redemption, Resurrection, and Judgment, and that 
we must be content with believing all these doctrines, they 
make them uncertain and problematical, and involuntarily 
advance the cause of heterodoxy. They themselves give 
up science for faith ; others, who are less devoted to the 
Church, gradually abandon faith and become freethinkers. 
Thus in 1347, John of Mercuria, a member of the Cis- 
tercian order, was condemned for having taught : (1) that 
everything that happens in the world, the evil as well as 
the good, is effected by the divine will ; (2) that sin is a 
good rather than an evil ; (3) that he who succumbs to an 
irresistible temptation does not sin. Thus also in 134S, a 
bachelor of theology, Nicolas of Autricuria, had the 
boldness to present the following theses to the Sorbonne : 
(1) We shall easily and quickly reach certain knowledge, if 
we abandon Aristotle and his commentaries, and devote 
ourselves to the study of nature itself. (2) It is true, we 
conceive God as the most real being, but we cannot know 
whether such a being exists or not. (3) The universe is 
infinite and eternal ; for a passage from non-being to being 
is inconceivable. — Such expressions of free thought were 
as yet uncommon, but for that very reason all the more 

Speculative philosophy and its anti-scholastic strivings 
received a powerful ally in the experimental sciences, 
which were revived by the study of Aristotle's works on 
physics and by the influence of the Arabian schools of 
Spain ; to these we owe our system of numerals, the 
elementary principles of algebra and chemistry, and our 

1 Professor at Tiibingen, died 1495. 



knowledge of the astronomical traditions of the Orient. 
The instruction offered in Christian schools was purely 
dialectical and formal ; it trained the mind for discussion, 
but left it an utter blank. As early as the thirteenth 
century, the Franciscan monk Roger Bacon,^ a professor 
at Oxford, recognized the serious imperfections in the 
system, and conceived the plan of reforming it by the 
introduction of the sciences. His three works, Opus 
majus^^ Opus minus^ and Oims tertium^^ the fruit of twenty 
years' investigation, to which he devoted his entire for- 
tune, constitute the most remarkable scientific monument of 
the Middle Ages. Not only does he call attention to the 
barrenness of the scholastic logomachies^ the necessity of 
observing nature and of studying the languages, but he 
recognizes, even more clearly than his namesake of the 
sixteenth century, the capital importance of mathematical 
deduction as an auxiliary to the experimental method. 
Nay, more than that ; he enriches science, and especially 
optics, with new and fruitful theories. But his scientific 
reforms were premature in the year 1267, which marks the 
appearance of his Op}us majus. His plan was submitted to 
the court of Rome, but owing to the intrigues of the 
obscurantist i^arty, it fell flat, and procured for Roger 
twelve years of confinement. The seed sown by this most 
clear-sighted thinker of the Middle Ages upon the barren 
soil of Scholasticism did not spring up until three cen- 
turies later. 

Albert the Great (§ 38), though not attaining to Bacon's 
eminence, shows a marked preference for the study of 

1 Doctor mirabilis, 1214-1294. 
Ed. Jebb, London, 1773, foUo. 

* In Rogeri Bacon Opera quocdam hactenus inedila, ed. J. J. Brewer, 
London, 1859; Charles, Roger Bacon, sn vie, ses ouvrages, ses doctrines, 
d'apres des textes inedits, Bordeaux, 18G1 ; [K. Werner, Psychologie, 
Erkenntnifys- und Wissenschaftslehre des Roger Baco, Vienna, 1879. — 



nature, which he himself, like his age, confused with magic. 
During the same epoch, Don Ramond Lullus ^ of Palma, 
a curious mixture of theologian and naturalist, missionary 
and troubadour, endeavored to popularize the science of the 
Arabians by means of a universal method, which he called 
ars magna. His teachings, which were recorded in numer- 
ous writings, gained for him, during the succeeding cen- 
turies, enthusiastic followers, whose chief concern was to 
discover the philosopher's stone and to make gold. As- 
sisted by such trifles, the human mind gradually returned 
to the observation of reality, and came to regard nature as 
an object of study no less important than Aristotle. About 
1400, the physician Raymond of Sabunde,^ a professor 
at Toulouse, had the boldness to prefer to books made by 
human hands the hook of nature ^ which being the work of 
God is intelligihle to all. 

The official philosophy, with its barren formalism, its 
ignorance of reality, and its hopeless indolence, had 
arrayed against it thought chafing under the yoke of the 
ecclesiastical Aristotle and yearning for progress and free- 
dom, and natural science, wliich foreshadowed its future 
grandeur in the rudimentary form of magic. Finally, it 
also gave offence to religious feeling and mystical piety 
because of its inability to supply the soul with substan- 
tial nourishment and to inspire the Christian life with 
an ardent love for goodness. Mysticism had for cen- 
turies been the ally of Scholastic speculation ; in Scotus 
Erigena, the sages of St. Victor, and St. Bonaventura, it 
tempered the cold reasonings of the School with its glow- 
ing warmth, and descended upon their barren logic like 

^ 1234-1315. i?a?/wmnf/i Opera, Strasburg, 1598; Opera omnia., 
ed. Salzinger, Mayence, 1721 ff. 

2 Died 1436. Raimundi liber nalurce due creaturarum {theologia natu- 
ralis), Strasburg, 1496; Paris, 1509; Sulzbach, 1852; Kleiber, De 
Raimundi vita et scriptis, Berlin, 1856. 



a refresliing dew. It widened the narrow circle of an in- 
tolerant orthodoxy by emphasizing the fides qiia creditur 
instead of the fides quae creditur, by laying greater stress 
upon faith itself as a subjective phenomenon and the ani- 
mating principle of the soul, than upon the object of faith. 
But the more deeply Scholasticism became absorbed in 
formal disputes and childish discussions, the more distaste- 
ful and antagonistic it became to the religious spirit which 
longed for a life in God and was stifled by the categories 
of Aristotle. 

Some mystics, like St. Bernard ^ and Walter of St. 
Victor, inveigh against logic because they consider it 
danoferous to the dog"mas of the Church. Others, who are 
less scrupulous in this respect, but equally anxious to 
possess God, are carried away by the ardor of their 
religious sentiments to the extreme conclusions of pan- 
theistic speculation. According to them, dialectics is a 
labyrinth in which the soul, instead of reaching God, is 
farther and farther removed from him, and finally loses him 
altogether. Feeling, they believe, brings us directly into 
communion with God ; with one bound we overcome the 
obstacles of discursive thought and are carried to the centre 
of things and the source of being, where self-consciousness 
is merged in the consciousness of God. According to some, 
feeling alone will transport the soul by enchantment to the 
summit of existence and the source of life. So Eckhaet,^ 
the Dominican provincial of Cologne and a typical panthe- 
istic mystic. Others, though seeking to be united with 
God, do not expect to reach their goal except after long and 
wearisome trials ; hence, to the love of God they add the 
love of goodness and moral struggle as indispensable con- 

1 1091-1158. 

2 Died about 1300. [Bach, Meister Eckhart, etc, Vienna, 1864; 
Lasson, Meister Eckhart, der Mysliker, Berlin, 18G8] ; Ch. Jundt, Essai 
sur le mysticisme speculatif de maiLre Eckhart, Strasburg, 1871. 



ditions of the Christian nirvana to which they aspire. To 
this class belong John Taulee,^ a Dominican preacher of 
Cologne and Strasburg, Johjst Wessel,*^ and Thomas a 
Kempis,^ the supposed author of the Imitation of Christ ; 
all of these are indebted for the new element in their 
teachings to the wholly Pelagian influence of nominalism. 
This influence is still more pronounced in the Frenchman 
John Gerson,* the chancellor, and Nicolas of Clemanges,^ 
the rector, of the University of Paris, whose mysticism is 
nothing but moral asceticism, and differs essentially from 
its German namesake. But beneath these different forms 
lurks one and the same anti-scholastic tendency, one and 
the same spirit of reform. 

§ 43. The Revival of Letters 

Corresponding to each of the elements of progress just 
mentioned, we notice a group of highly important historical 
facts, which give a decided impetus to these tendencies. 
Free thought eagerly seizes upon the literary master- 
pieces of antiquity, which are made known by Greek 
emigrants, and which the timely invention of printing helps 
to render accessible to all. The scientific spirit of the age 
and its naturalistic bent, admirably assisted by the inven- 
tion of the compass and the telescope, triumphs in the 
discovery of America and of the Solar System. The con- 
templation of these new and infinite worlds arouses feel- 
ings of enthusiasm and confidence which become more and 
more dangerous to Scholasticism and the authoritative 

1 Died 1361. [Editions of Tanler's sermons, Leipsic, 1498 ; Bale, 
1521 f.; Cologne, 1543. Modern edition, Frankfurt a. M., 1826 and 
1864. — Tr.] 

2 Died 1489. a Died 1471. 

4 Died 1429. [Opera, Cologne, 1483 ff.] See C. Schmidt, Essai sm 
Jean Gerson, Strasburg, 1839. 

5 Died 1440. 



system of the Church. At the same time, the religious 
spirit receives encouragement from the great reform move- 
ment of the sixteenth century, inaugurated by the literary 
awakening in the fifteenth. 

Under the auspices of the Byzantine government, which 
survived the ruin of the ancient world, the Hellenic pen- 
insula preserved, in antiquated and pedantic form, the 
literary and philosophical traditions of antiquity, its taste 
for classical learning, and its love for the great philosophers, 
Plato and Aristotle. Here the writings of these thinkers 
were studied in the original at a time when Greek was not 
only a dead language but absolutely unknown in the Occi- 
dent. A kind of worship grew up around them, and the 
more impossible it seemed to surpass them, the greater admir- 
ation they inspired. As long as such stars and their 
satellites shone in the heavens of Byzantium and Athens, 
the taste for learned studies and free speculation could not 
disappear from Grecian soil, and even the theological 
pedantry of the Emperors could not destroy it. In the 
main, therefore, the Orient exerted a wholesome and lib- 
eralizing influence on the Occident. 

In a certain sense, this influence goes back to the period 
of the Crusades. By an irony of fate," not unfrequent 
in history, the Catholic Church failed to reap the expected 
fruits of these expeditions. The Orient had been invaded 
in the name of the Roman faith, and the Crusaders brought 
back nothing but heresies. The futile efforts made by the 
Western Church, during the first half of the fifteenth 
century, to bring about a reconciliation with the Eastern 
Church resulted similarly. The influence of the Greek 
Orient was beneficial to the Occident, but injurious to the 
hierarchical tendencies of Catholicism. Some centuries 
l)efore, the Calabrians, Barlaam and Leontius Pilatus, and, 
after them, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio had cultivated 
a taste for Greek literature in Italy ; but the Orient did 



not exercise a direct and lasting influence upon Europe 
until after 1438, when the Byzantine Church sent her 
scholars to Florence. The object of their mission was the 
reconciliation of the two churches ; hut they became the 
missionaries of classical civilization from the Orient to the 
Empire of the Popes. 

Greek scholars flocked to Italy in still greater numbers, 
causing a veritable migration from the Orient, when 
Byzantium and the last remains of the Eastern Empire fell 
into the hands of the Turks (1453). This event raised 
Italy to the position which she had occupied in literature, 
art, and philosophy two thousand years before ; she again 
became Magna Graccia. In the year 1440, the Greek 
scholar, Georgius Gemistus Pletho,^ an ambassador to 
the Council of Florence, whom the munificence of Cosmo del 
Medici had succeeded in detaining in Italy, founded a Pla- 
tonic Academy in Florence. His fellow-countryman Bes- 
SARION 2 succeeded him in the government of the school 
and in the work of propaganda. He defended the Acad- 
emy against his compatriots Gennadius, Theodorus Gaza, 
and Georgius of Trebizond, followers of the Lyceum, and 
gained a large number of Italian adherents for Plato, not- 
withstanding the opposition of the Peripatetics and their 
orthodox supporters. 

The fellow-countrymen of Dante were completely fasci- 
nated with the Greek language. It was studied Avith the 
passionate ardor peculiar to the Italian people. Philosophy 
became the all-important science. The Venetian Hermo- 
LAus Barbarus, Laurentius Valla of Rome, and An- 

^ Ilepi oav *Api(TTOT€\r}s npbs liXdrcova dia(f)ep€rai, Paris, 1540 ; Noficdv 
<Tvyypa(f)rj (fragments collected by C. Alexandre and translated into 
French by A. Pellissier, Paris, 1858). [See F. Schultze, GescUcTite der 
Philosophie der Renaissance^ vol. I., Geo. Gem. Plethon, Jena, 1874. — 

2 Adversus calumniatores Platonis, Rome, 1469; [Opera omnia, ed. 
Miqne, Paris, 1866]. 



GELUS PoLiTiANUS were zealous disciples of the exiles of 
Byzantium. The love of ancient literature and the dislike 
for the language of the School extended even to the leaders 
of the Church. The Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa (Kuss i), 
who possessed the qualities of a Bruno and a Descartes, had 
the courage openly to criticise the errors of Scholasticism, 
and recommended the philosophy of Plato, which he iden- 
tified with the Pythagorean theory of numbers, as in every 
way preferable to the reigning system. The wave of classi- 
cism even reached the throne of St. Peter; and it is a 
well-known fact that Leo X. and his secretary Bembo 
greatly preferred Cicero to the Vulgate. The religion of 
Virgil and Homer superseded the religion of Christ in the 
hearts of the high dignitaries of the Church and the secu- 
lar scholars, poets, and artists; the joyful Olympus was 
exchanged for the severe Golgotha ; Jehovah, Jesus, and 
Mary became Jupiter, Apollo, and Venus ; the saints of 
the Church were identified with the gods of Greece and 
Rome, — in a word, the times returned to paganism. 

Marsilius Ficinus,^ a pupil of the Florentine Acad- 
emy, continues the struggle begun by Bessarion in behalf of 

^ Diocese of Treves. Cusanus, whose real name was Krebs, died 
in 1464. His Works appeared in three folio volumes, Paris, 1514 
[German transl. of his most important writings, by F. A. Scharpff, 
Freiburg, 1862]. The best known of his treatises, De docta ignorantia, 
is found in the first volume. The second, which contains his treatises 
on astronomy and mathematics, makes him the forerunner of Coper- 
nicus and of the reform of the calendar. He anticipates Bruno by 
his doctrine of the absolute unity-God, and Schelling and Hegel by his 
conception of tlie coincidence of contradictories. See Richard Falcken- 
berg, GrundzUge der Philosophie des Nicolas von Cusanus, Breslau, 1880. 

2 A Florentine, 1433-1499. Florence and the century of the liter- 
ary renaissance also produced the great politician and Italian patriot, 
Nicolo Macchiavelli (1469-1527), the author of II principe, etc. [works 
translated by C. E. Detmold, Boston, 1883], whose system is based on 
the principle that the end justifies the means (separation of politics from 



Plato. For him, Platonism is the quintessence of human 
wisdom, the key to Christianity, and the only efficient 
vneans of rejuvenating and spiritualizing the Catholic doc- 
trine. As the editor, translator, and commentator of Plato 
and the i^lexandrians, Marsilius Ficinus is one of the 
fathers of modern classical philology as well as of the phil- 
osophical Renaissance. An equally distinguished person is 
the Count John Pico of Mirandola (1463-1494). Pico 
recommends Hebrew in addition to the study of the Greek 
language and literature ; believing, as he does, that the J ew- 
ish Cabala ^ is as important a source of wisdom as Plato 
and the New Testament. He bequeaths his love of phi- 
lology and his Cabalistic prejudices to his nephew, John 
Francis Pico of Mirandola, a less talented but more pious 
man than his uncle, and to the German Reuchlin, who, 
upon returning to the Empire, becomes the founder of 
classical and Hebrew philology in his country, and by com- 
bating Hochstraten and the obscurantists paves the way 
for the spiritual deliverance of his native land. 

§ 44. Neo-Platonism. Theosophy. Magic 

The mixture of new ideas and old superstitions gives 
rise to a mimber of curious theories, partially modelled 
after Neo-Platonic doctrines, which represent the stages, 
as it were, by which the philosophical and scientific mind 
gains its independence. They may be classed under the 
title tlieosophy. Theosophy shares theology's belief in the 
supernatural and philosophy's faith in nature. It forms an 
intermediate stage, a kind of transition, between theology 
and pure philosophy. It does not attain to the dignity of 
modern experimental science; for it rests upon an inner 
revelation, which is superior to sensible experience and 

^ Concerning the Cabala, see Munck, Systhne de la Kahbale, Paris, 
1842 ; Melanges de philosophie juive et arabe, Paris, 1859. 



reasoning. It does not study nature for nature's sake, but 
in order to discover the traces of the mysterious Being 
which nature hides as well as reveals. Now, in order to 
discover it, theosophy needs a key of Sesame, a no less 
mysterious instrument than the object of its studies. It 
therefore enters upon a search for secret doctrines, and 
greedily seizes and utilizes whatever is offered in this line. 
Hence the enthusiasm which the teachings of the Jewish 
Cabala and of Neo-Platoidsm arouse in Pico of Mirandola, 
who compares them with those of the Bible, and in Reucli- 
lin, who exalts them in his Dg verbo mirifico ^ and his De 
arte cabalistic a. 

Theosophy is not content with fathoming the great mys- 
tery ; it does not regard it as enough to know nature ; it 
desires what Francis Bacon afterwards desired: to rule 
over it, to master it, to control it. And just as it claims to 
reach a knowledge of things by means of secret doctrines, 
it boasts of being able to control them by secret arts, by 
formulae and mysterious practices. That is to say, it neces- 
sarily becomes magic or theurgy.^ Magic is based upon 
the Neo-Platonic principle that the world is a hierarchy of 
divine forces, a system of agencies forming an asceuding 
and descending scale, in which the higher agencies com- 
mand and the lower ones obey. Hence, in order to govern 
nature and to change it according to his wishes, the theos- 
ophist must be united with the higher forces on which the 
sublunary sphere depends; and since, according to Aris- 
totle and Ptolemy, the heavenly powers or the sidereal 
agencies are ::uch higher forces, astrology plays an impor- 
tant part in the lucubrations of the theosophist. 

This union of Platonism, or rather Pythagoreanism, 
with theurgy and magic is best exemplified in Reuchlin's 
disciple, Agrippa of Nettesheim,^ the author of a treatise, 

1 Bale, 1494. 2 Hagenau, 1517. » Cf. §§ 25 and 26. 

4 Born at Cologne, 1487 ; died at Grenoble, 1535. 



De vanitate scientiarwn^ directed against scholastic dogma- 
tism ; in Jerome Cardaitus,^ a noted physician and mathe- 
matician, whose teachings, a singular mixture of astro- 
logical superstitions and liberal ideas, are stamped as 
anti-Christian by the orthodoxy of the period; in the 
learned Swiss physician Theophrastus of Hohenheim, called 
Paracelsus,^ who shares the belief of Pico, Reuchlin, 
and Agrippa in the inner light " that is much superior to 
bestial reason," and their love for the Cabala, whose doc- 
trines his system identities with those of Christianity. 
From the Adam cadrnon^ who is none other than Christ, 
spring, according to Paracelsus, the soul of the world and 
the many spirits governed by it, the Sylvans, Undines, 
Gnomes, and Salamanders , and whoever, through absolute 
obedience to the divine will, is united with the Adam 
cadmon and with the heavenly intelligences, is the best 
physician, and possesses the universal panacea, — the phi- 
losopher's stone. With a great deal of superstition and a 
little charlatanism, the precursors of the scientific reforma- 
tion combine a keen love of nature and a profound aversion 
to Scholasticism, which their opposition largely assists in 

§ 45. Aristotle versus Aristotle, or the Liberal Peripatetics. 
Stoics. Epicureans. Sceptics 

While Pletho and Bessarion were preaching Plato, Gen- 
nadius, Georgius of Trebizond, and Theodorus Gaza, ardent 

1 Of Pavia, 1501-1576. Opera omnia, Lyons, 1663. Cardanus is 
remembered in the history of mathematics by his rule for the solution 
of equations of the third degree {Ars magna sive de regulis algebraicis, 
published 1543, the date of the appearance of Copernicus's Celestial 
Revolutions). [Cf. Rixner and Siber, Beitriige zur Geschichte tier Phys- 
iologie, 7 pts., Sulzbach, 1819-26 ; 2d ed. 1829,] 

2 1493-1541. Opera, Bale, 1589 ; Strasburg, 1616 ff. [Cf. Sigwart, 
Kleine Schriften, I., pp. 25 ff . ; Eucken, Beitriige, etc., pp. 32 ff .] 



Peripatetics and adversaries of the Academy of Florence, 
introduced the learned Italian public to the study of the 
texts of Aristotle. The better they became acquainted 
with the words of the great philosopher, the more they 
recognized the notable differences between the real Aris- 
totle and the Aristotle of Scholasticism ; and while Plato, 
Plotinus, and Proclus attracted the more imaginative 
minds, the positive thinkers, who were no less hostile to 
traditional philosophy than the Academicians of Florence, 
appealed from Aristotle misinterpreted to the authentic 
Aristotle of the Greek texts. As a result, the Stagirite 
met with a fate similar to that experienced by Hegel 
about 1835. The system which had been regarded as the 
strongest support of the Church was found to disagree 
with her on several essential points. A liberal Peripatetic 
school, chiefly composed of laymen, was formed in opposi- 
tion to official Peripateticism. Although maintaining a 
prudent reserve towards the Church, these liberal Peripa- 
tetics assisted in undermining her authoritative system 
by laying bare, one after another, the heresies of the philo- 
sopher whom she shielded with blind tenderness. To con- 
vict an author of heresy whom the Church had declared 
infallible, was to make the Church fallible ; was to attack 
her supreme authority in the field of thought; was to 
respond to the emancipation of conscience, taking place 
beyond the mountains, with the emancipation of the 

In his treatise On the Immortality of the Soul,'^ the 
leader of the new school,^ Petkus Pomponatius (Pom- 
ponazzi^), boldly raises the question whether immortality 

^ Tractatus de immortalitate animae, 1516; numerous editions. 

2 Called the school of Padua, in honor of the city in which Pom- 
ponatius taught. 

3 Born at Mantua, 1462; died, 1525; professor at Padua. See on 
Poinponatius : [F. Fiorentino, Pielro Pomjwnazzi, Florence, 1868]; 



is a corollary of Aristotle's principles, and, with Alexander 
of Aphrodisias,^ answers it in the negative. He thereby, 
on the one hand, ignores the authority of St. Thomas, 
who had declared that the philosophy of the Stagirite was 
favorable to this fundamental dogma of religion ; and, on 
the other, denies the doctrine itself ; for both Pomponatius 
as well as the Church regarded the philosophy of Aristotle, 
not as a system among other systems, but as the true phi- 
losophy. Pomponatius, who had to make his peace with 
Leo X. in order to escape the anathemas of the Church, 
declares that he personally believes in immortality, because 
he accepts the authority of the Church in matters of 
religion; but it is evident from the manner in which he 
refutes the objections raised against the opposite view that 
he does not believe in it. 

Say what you will, he writes, it cannot be held that all 
men achieve intellectual perfection ; while moral perfec- 
tion does not consist in an ideal that cannot be realized 
on earth, but in the conscientious performance of the 
duties imposed upon each individual by his special task. 
The conscientious and upright magistrate attains the per- 
fection in his sphere of which he is capable and for which 
he is destined ; the industrious farmer, the merchant, the 
honest and active artisan, realize, each according to his 
means, the relative perfection of which nature has fur- 
nished them the elements. Absolute perfection belongs to 
the absolute Being alone. 

The argument which infers the immortality of the soul 

Ad. Franck, Moralistes et philosophes, 2d ed., Paris, 1874 ; [L. Ferri, 
La psicologia di P. Pomponazze, Rome, 1877]. 

1 See on the Alexandrists and the Averroists, Marsihus Ficinus, 
Preface to the Translation of Plotinus. Some interpreted Aristotle, as 
did Averroes, in the pantheistic sense ; others agreed with Alexander 
of Aphrodisias, and interpreted him in the deistic sense. All rejected 
individual immortality and miracles. 


from the necessity of an eternal reward of virtue, and an 
eternal punishment of crime, is based upon a false, or at 
least imperfect and vulgar, conception of virtue and vice, 
reward and punishment. Virtue which is exercised merely 
for the sake of a reward other than itself, is not virtue. 
This is proved by the fact that everybody regards an act 
performed in a wholly disinterested manner, and without 
the hope of some material advantage, as more meritorious 
than an act performed for an advantage or to satisfy an 
interest. We must distinguish between the essential re- 
ward and the accidental remuneration of virtue. The 
essential recompense, which is inherent in virtue and 
consequently never lacking, is virtue itself and the insep- 
arable joy connected with it; and the same may be said 
of vice, which carries its own punishment with it, even 
though it is not followed by external and accidental pains. 
It is an incontrovertible fact that men practise righteous- 
ness for the sake of the reward beyond the grave, and that 
they abstain from crime on account of their fear of hell ; 
but this proves that their moral ideas are still rudimentary, 
and that they have need of rattles and bugbears where the 
philosopher acts solely from principle. 

But if the soul is not immortal, all religions are in error, 
and the whole world is deceived! Well, does not Plato 
say that all men are in many respects deluded by the samo 
prejudice ? And does he not therefore hold of little worth 
arguments based on the consensus gentium ? Finally, as 
regards apparitions of the dead, resurrections, and ghosts : 
such proofs in favor of a hereafter do not prove anything 
but the marvellous power of the imagination influenced by 
faith. If, as Aristotle explicitly teaches, the soul is the 
function of the body, it is evident that there can be no 
soul without a body. And what, then, becomes of sorcery 
and the exorcism of spirits ? What becomes of the super- 
natural ? 



In his treatise On Magic} Pomponatius openly avows 
his disbelief in miracles as the suspension of the natural 
order of things ; and though he admits the miracles of 
Jesus and Moses in order to mislead the Inquisition, he 
explains them naturally, that is, he denies them indirectly. 
And he rejects them, on the authority of the man whom 
the Church considered as the staunchest supporter of the 
supernaturalistic Chi-istian, — on the authority of Aristotle. 

Finally, in his treatise On Fate^ he dwells, with apparent 
satisfaction, on the contradictions involved in the doctrines 
of divine prescience and providence, predestination and 
moral freedom. If God ordains everything in advance, 
and foresees everything, then we are not free ; if man is 
free, then God does not foresee his acts, and his knowledge 
is dependent on his creatures. Aristotle himself, — Pom- 
ponatius does not dare to say so openly, so great is the 
authority of the philosopher of the Church, — Aristotle 
contradicts himself on this important question, the solution 
of which seems to transcend the capacity of human reason. 
However that may be, determinism has all the logic on its 
side, and Pomponatius is in sympathy with it. In that case 
God is the source of evil ! Scholastic nominalism interposes. 
Our philosopher is forced to admit this ; but he consoles 
himself with the thought that if tlure were not so much evil 
in the world, there 2vouM not be so much good in it. 

PoRTA,^ ScALiGER,^ Cremootni,^ Zabarella,^ coutiuue 
the liberal Peripateticism of Pomponatius during the six- 
teenth century, and advocate his theory of the soul. They 

^ De naturaUum effectuum admlrcmdorum causis sine de incantationi- 
bus liber, Bkle, 1556. 

2 De faio^ libera arbitrio, prcedestinatione, providentia Dei, lihri F., 
Bologna, 1520; Bale, 1525 ff. 

^ Died, 1555. De rerum naturalibus principiis, Florence, 1551. 

^ 1484-1558. Exerc. adv. Cardanum. 

^ 1552-1631. Professor at Ferrara and Padua. 

« 1533-1589. Professor at Padiia. Opera, Leyden, 1587. 



also practise his prudent reserve, as the following motto 
recommended by Cremonini shows : InUis ut Uhet, foris ut 
moris est The Church, however, kept a close watch upon 
them, and suspected them of atheism. A product of this 
school, LuciLio Vanini,^ a restless and extremely vain soul, 
was burnt by the Inquisition, in spite, or perhaps because 
of, his declaration " that he would state his opinions con- 
cerning the immortality of the soul only in case he were 
old, rich, and a German." These Peripatetics of the left no 
longer swear by the words of the master like the orthodox 
Peripatetics. They venerate Aristotle as the liighest t^^pe 
of the philosophical mind; but their Peripateticism does 
not consist in a servile obedience to the letter of his 
writings, from which they frequently deviate. 

Some, impressed by the similarity between the real 
teachings of Aristotle and the Platonic and Alexandrine 
doctrines, approximate the Florentine Academy, though 
still following the standard of the Lyceum ; while the Pla- 
tonists, on the other hand, whom a careful study of 
Aristotle had initiated into the secrets of his metaphysics, 
consent to a compromise between Platonism and Peripa- 
teticism. On the Platonic side we have John Pico of 
Mirandola, whose work on the agreement between Plato 
and Aristotle remained unfinished ; on the Neo-Peripatetic 
side, we have Andreas C^esalpinus,^ a learned naturalist, 
who anticipated Harvey's discovery, and created an artificial 

1 His real name was Pompeio Lucilio Vanini. In his works he 
calls himself Julius Caesar Vaninus. He was born at Tauresano, near 
Naples, in 1584, and burnt alive at Toulouse on the 9th of February, 
1619, after having had his tongue cut off. He left two works : Amphi- 
theatrum ceternce j)r avid entice, Lyons, 1615, and De admirandis naturce 
arcanis, Paris, 1616 (best known by the title Dialogues on Nature, 
transl. into French by Cousin). 

2 1519-1603. Physician of Clement VIII. Qucestiones peripateti- 
cce, Venice, 1571; Dcemonum investigalio perip., Venice, 1593; compare 
p. 284. 



system of botany. The universe, according to Csesalpinus, 
is a living unity, a perfect organism. The " first mover " 
is the innermost substance of the world, — the substance of 
which the particular things are the modes or determina- 
tions. He is both absolute thought and absolute being. 
Though a mode of the divine substance, the human soul is 
none the less immortal, since its essence, thought, is inde- 
pendent of the body. 

Still others, like Bernardino Telesto^ of Cosenza 
(1508-1588), the founder of the Academia Telesiana or 
Cosentina of Naples, and Francesco Patrizzi^ (1527- 
1597), who were trained in the humanities as well as in the 
secret science of Paracelsus and Cardanus, approximate the 
naturalistic systems of the Ionian school in their cosmologi- 
cal conceptions. In connection with Telesio, we must 
mention the illustrious names of Giordano Bruno (§ 49) 
and Francis Bacon (§ 51), both of whom knew his writings 
and were influenced by them. 

While the speculative genius of Southern Italy was 
revealing to the world the real Aristotle, Plato, Parmeni- 
des, and Empedocles, the French and Flemish thinkers on 
the other side of the mountains, took a deeper interest in 
moral philosophy and positive science than in metaphysical 
speculation. Pyrrhonism was revived in the Essays^ of 
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) and in the writings 

1 De rerum natura juxta propria principia, libri IX., Naples, 1586 ; 
[F. Fiorentino, Bernardino Telesio, 2 vols., Florence, 1872-74; L. 
Ferri, La Jilosofia della not. e dottrine di B. Telesio, Turin, 1873 ; cf. 
also Rixner and Siber, mentioned p. 267. — Tr.]. 

2 Discussiones peripateticce, Venice, 1571 ff. ; Bale, 1581 ; Nova de 
universis pliilosophia, Ferrara, 1491. 

8 First edition, Bordeaux, 1580 ; modern edition, with notes of all 
the commentators, by M. J. V. Leclerc, and a new study of Montaigne 
by Prevost-Paradol, Paris, 1865; [Engl, transl. by John Florio, with 
introduction by George Saintsbury, London, 1 892 ; by C. Cotton, with 
life and notes by W. C. Hazlitt, 3 vols., 2d ed., London, 1892. — Tr.] 




of PiEEEE ChartionI (1541-1603), Sanchez 2 (died at 
Toulouse, 1632), Lamothe-Levayer ^ (1586-1672); Sto- 
icism, by Justus Lipsius^ (1547-1606); Epicureanism, 
by the learned physicist Gassendi,^ the opponent of Car- 
tesian intellectualism, (1596-1655). Although these free- 
thinkers, with the exception of Gassendi, whose teachings 
were again taken up by the eighteenth century, do not 
contribute directly to the reform of philosophy, they at 
least exert an indirect influence by discrediting the still 
powerful metaphysics of the School, by exposing the use- 
lessness of its formulae and the barrenness of its disputes. 
Humanists and naturalists, dogmatists and sceptics, Ital- 
ians and Frenchmen, are united in the common desire 
for emancipation, reform, and progress. Nature is their 
watchword; here, as in Greece, the theological age is 
followed by the era of the physicists. 

§ 46. The Religious Reform^ 

Ideas enlighten humanity on its onward march, but the 
will or the instinctive passions impel it onward.'' The 

^ De la sagefise, Bordeaux, 1601. 

2 Tractatus de multum nohili et prima universali scientia, quod nihil 
scitur, Lyons, 1581 ; Tractatus philosophici, Eotterdam, 1649 ; [cf. L. 
Gerkrath, Francois Sanchez, Vienna, I860]. 

3 Cinq dialogues faits a V imitation des anciens, Mons, 1673 ; Works, 
Paris, 1653. 

* Manuductio ad stoicam philosophiam, etc., Antwerp, 1604. 

^ De vita, moribus et doctrina Epicuri, Leyden, 1647; Animadversio- 
nes in Diog. L. de vita et phil. Epic, ibid., 1649; Syntagma phil. Epic, 
The Hague, 1655; Opera, Leyden, 1658; Florence, 1727; [cf. Lange, 
History of Materialism, I., 3, chap. 3.] 

® [K. Hagen, Deufschlands Wterarische und religiose Verhdltnisse im 
Reformationszeitalter, 3 vols., Frankfurt, 1868; M. Carriere, Die Welt- 
anschauung der Reformationszeit ; W. Dilthey, Auffassung und Analyse 
des Menschen im 15. u. 16. Jalirhundert, Archiv f. Geschichte der Philos., 
IV. and v.; same author, Das natilrliche System der Geisleswissen- 
schaften im 17. Jalirltunderl, ibid., TV. — Tr.] 

' §4. 



Humanists demolished, piece by piece, the system which 
had been so carefully constructed by the doctors of the 
Church ; but their excessive prudence or their indifference 
hindered them from attacking the Church herself, towards 
whom they affected an attitude of respectful submission. 
Pomponatius, Scaliger, Erasmus, and Montaigne were more 
liberal than the leaders of the Reformation ; but their lib- 
eralism is exactly what rendered them indifferent to religion 
and unfitted them for the grand work of the emancipation 
of conscience. The Church was so tolerant of pagan an- 
tiquity, so fond of classical studies ! The Popes them- 
selves were so cultured, so liberal, and so worldly ! Yet, 
the spiritual onmipotence of Rome formed one of the chief 
obstacles in the way of philosophical reform, and it took a 
more powerful force to shake the colossus than the love of 
letters or the taste for free thought. Such a force was 
the religious conscience of Luther and the Reformers. In 
the name of the inner power that controlled them and im- 
pelled them onward, they attacked, not the philosophical 
system patronized by the Cliurch, but the Church herself 
and the principle of her supreme authority. 

As we have seen, the mediaeval Church is both church 
and school, the depositary of the means of salvation and 
the dispenser of profane instruction. As long as the 
people continued in a state of barbarism, the power which 
she exercised in this double capacity was beneficent, legiti- 
mate, and necessary. But after the pupil becomes of age, 
the best of guardians acts as a hindrance from which he 
seeks deliverance. The Renaissance had actually destroyed 
the claim, which the Church advanced, of being the sole 
and privileged school, but it acknowledged the Church as 
the highest religious and moral authority. The Reforma- 
tion finishes the work of the fifteenth century by emanci- 
pating the conscience. The sale of indulgences formed 
the immediate occasion for the outbreak. This shameful 



traffic had been legalized by the Catholic system. Since 
the Church is God's representative on earth, whatever 
she commands agrees with God's own will. Hence if she 
demands money from the faithful and couples with the 
contribution the promise of the pardon of sins, the faithful 
can do nothing but submit to her authority. The proce- 
dure may perhaps shock the moral sense a little. But 
what are our individual feelings against the revelation 
which the Church receives from God? Are God's ways 
our ways, and is not the divine folly wiser than the wis- 
dom of men? Was not the revealed truth an offence to 
the children of the age from the very beginning? . . . 
Luther's conscience rebelled against such sophistry. By 
protesting against these scandalous indulgences he revolted 
against the dogma sanctioning them, and against the spir- 
itual power which recommended them. For the author- 
ity of so evil-minded a church he substitutes the supreme 
authority of Scripture ; against the Catholic principle of 
meritorious works he opposes the doctrine of justification 
by faith. 

The principle proclaimed by Luther, and soon after by 
Zwingli, Calvin, and Farel, quickly penetrated and power- 
fully influenced all spheres of human action. As soon 
as it was acknowledged as a truth that salvation comes 
through faith alone and not by works, the dispensations con- 
ferred by the Church lost their value. If grace is every- 
thing and merit nothing, then, it must be confessed, God 
cannot be thankful to us for renouncing family, society, 
and the joys and duties of life. Even Luther, who is by 
no means a lover of philosophy, but who has a very lively 
appreciation of nature, really advances the humanitarian 
and modern cause by repudiating, in principle at least, the 
dualism of the spiritual and the temporal, of priests and 
laymen, of heaven and eartli. Melancthon, who is both a 
disciph^ of the Renaissance and a champion of the Refor- 



mation, plainly recognizes the comnumity of interests 
existing between the literary and the religious revival. 
The two currents ultimately meet in Ulrich Zwingli, ^ who 
was both an earnest Christian and a profound thinker, 
and whose theology is an energetic protest against the 
antithesis of a godless nature and a God antagonistic to 

§ 47. Scholasticism and Theosophy in the Protestant Coun- 
tries. Jacob Bohme 

Zwingli's progressive tendencies, however, made little 
headway, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
against the doctrinary zeal of the theologians of the North. 
The authority of the Church and of the Pope was super- 
seded, among the Protestants, by the symbolism of the 
Reformation. It was impossible to pass immediately from 
tlie rule of authority to absolute freedom. The religious con- 
science, which had been violently agitated by a sudden re- 
volution, needed a capable guide in place of the one just lost. 
Theology, again, could not, in its struggle with Catholicism, 
do without an external, visible, and standard authority in 
matters of science and religion. Hence the Eeformation 
produced no immediate change in philosophy. In spite of 
the efforts of Nicolas Tauuellus,^ of Mompelgard (1547- 
1606) and Pierre db la Ramee or Ramus,^ (1515-1572), 

1 IVorks, ed. Schiller and Schulthess, 8 vols., Zarich, 1828-42 ; [E. 
Zeller, Das theologische System Zivinglis, Tubingen, 1853 ; Dilthey, 
A. f. G. d. Ph. VI.]. 

2 Philosophice triumphus, Bale, 1573 ; Alpes cresce (against Csesalpi- 
nus), Frankfort, 1597; Synopsis Arist. Metaphys., Hanover, 1596; De 
mundo, Amberg, 1603 ; Uranologia, ib., 1603 ; De rerum ceterniiafe, 
Marburg, 1604. See F. X. Schmidt aus Schwarzenberg, Nicolas 
Taurelhis, der ersfe deutsche Philosoph, 2d ed., Erlangen, 1864. 

2 Scholarum phys. libri VIII., Paris, 1565 ; Schol. metapliys. lihri 
XIV., Paris, 1566. See the monographs of Ch. Waddington (Paris, 
18-18) and Ch. Demaze (Paris, 1864). 



who bitterly opposed the routine methods and the system 
of Aristotle, as then understood, the Universities continued 
to teach traditional Peripateticism in the form adapted by 
Melancthon ^ to the needs of the Protestant dogma. 

The anti-scholastic opposition of Reuchlin, Agrippa, and 
Paracelsus was continued by the Saxon pastor Valentine 
Weigel,2 (1533-1593), the two Van Helmonts,^ the Eng- 
lishman Robert Fludd,^ (died 1637), who, like a true 
Protestant, bases his cosmology on Genesis, the learned 
CoMENius,^ (died 1671), whose trinity of matter, light, and 
spirit calls to mind the three stages of being in Plotinus 
and the three Peripatetic principles of matter, movement, 
and action ; finally, by Jacob BomiE the theosophist of 
Gorlitz (1575-1624). 

Bohme ^ was born of poor parents and apprenticed to a 
shoemaker at an early age. He received absolutely no 
instruction, and knew only the Bible and the writings of 
Weigel. But these sufficed to develop the latent capaci- 

^ Ethicce doctrince elementa, 1538. [See Dilthey, ^./. G. d. Ph. VI.~\ 

^ Tvmdi creavrov., nosce te ipsum, 1618, etc. [See the works of J. Opel 
(Leipsic, 1864), and A. Israel (Zschopau, 1889).] 

3 J. Bapt. Helmont (died 1644). Opera, Amsterdam, 1648 ; [Germ, 
ed. 1683]. F. Merc. Helmont (died 1699). Seder olam s. ordo sceculo- 
rum, hoc est historica enarratio doctrince philosophicce per unum in quo sunt 
omnia, 1693. [See Rixner and Siber]. 

* Historia macro- et microcosmi metaphysica, physica et technica, Op- 
penheim, 1617 ; Philos. Mosaica, Guda, 1638. 

^ Synopsis physices ad lumen divinum reformatce, Leipsic, 1638. [Cf. 
J. Kvacsala, Ueber J. A . Comenius Philosophic, Leipsic, 1886.] 

« [Coll. Works, ed. by Schiebler, 2d ed., 1861 fE. ; English transl. by 
William Law, 2 vols. 4°, 1864 ; French transl. of several writings, by 
L. C. St. Martin, Paris, 1800. Cf. v. Baader, Vorlesunf/en iiher Bohme'' s 
Theologumena (Works, vol. TIL, pp. 357-436; also vol. XIII.) ; H. A. 
Fechner, Jacob Bohme, sein Lehen und seine Schriffen, Gorlitz, 1853 ; 
A. Peip, Jacob Bohme der deutsche Philosoph, Leipsic, 1860 ; also Car- 
riere (cited before) and Windelband, Geschichfe der neueren Philoso- 
phic, vol. I., § 19 .— Tr.] 



ties of this child of the people. He divines that the visible 
things conceal a great mijstcrg^ and he experiences a deep 
desire to unravel it. An earnest Christian, he studies the 
Scriptures, entreating God to enlighten him with his Spirit, 
and to reveal to him what no mortal man can discover 
tlu'ough his own efforts ; and his prayers are answered. In 
three successive revelations, God shows him the inner centre 
of mysterious nature and helps him to penetrate the inner- 
most heart of creaticres at a single rapid glance. Yielding 
to the urgent wishes of some of his friends, he decides 
to record his vision in a treatise called Aurora^ which pro- 
cures him the title, the German philosojjhcr. This book, 
like his other works, ^ is written in German, the only 
language with which Bohme was familiar, and for that 
reason, if for no other, belongs to the modern world. It 
contains heresies of which the author has not the slightest 
notion, but which are vigorously condemned by the 
ecclesiastical authorities of Gorlitz and cause him to be 
placed under strict surveillance for the rest of his days. 

Indeed, from the Preface on, the sincerest orthodoxy is 
mingled with the most advanced conceptions of ancient 
and modern speculation. If you desire to be a philosopher 
and to fathom the nature of God and the nature of things, 
first pray to God for the Holy Ghost, who is in God and in 
nature. Aided by the Holy Spirit, you can penetrate even 
into the hodg of God, who is nature^'^ and into the essence of 
the holy Trinity : for the Divine Spirit dwells in the whole 
of nature as the human spirit dwells in the body of man. 

Enlightened by this Spirit, what does Bohme find at the 

^ Von den drei Principien des gottlichen Weseiis ; Vom dreifacTien Lehen 
des Menschen ; Von der Mensckwerdung Jesu Christi ; Vom irdiscTien und 
himmlischen Mysterium ; Von walirer Busse ; Von der Wiedergeburt ; Von 
der Gnadenwald ; Mysterium magnum, etc. (all in German). Editions 
of Amsterdam (1675, 1682, 1730) and Leipsic (1831 ff., 7 vols.). 

a Aurora, chap. ii. 12; x. 56, and passim. 



very source of things ? A constant duality, which he calls 
gentleness and sternness, sweetness and bitterness, good 
and evil. Everything that lives contains these contraries. 
Indifferent things, — things, that is, neither sweet nor bitter, 
neither warm nor cold, neither good nor bad, — are dead. 
Bohme sees this conflict, this struggle between two opposing 
principles, which become reconciled in death, in all beings, 
without exception, — in terrestrial beings, in angels, and in 
God,i who constitutes the essence of all beings.''^ God with- 
out the Son is a will that desires nothing because it is 
everything and has everything, — a will without a motive, a 
love without an object, a powerless power, an unsubstantial 
shadow, a blind essence without intelligence and without 
life, a centre without a circumference, a light without bright- 
ness, a sun without rays, a night without stars, a chaos with- 
out light, color, or form : a bottomless abyss, eternal death, 
nothingness. God the Father and the Son is the living God, 
the absolute or concrete spirit, the perfect being. The Son 
is the self-centred infinity, the heart of the Father ; the torch 
that illuminates the boundlessness of the Divine Being, as 
the sun sheds its light into the immeasurable space ; the 
eternal circle which God describes around himself ; the tody 
of God^ having the stars as its organs, and their orbits as its 
eternally-throbbing arteries ; the totality of the forms con- 
tained in heaven and earth; the mysterious nature that 
lives, and feels, and suffers, and dies, and is again revived 
in us. But the opposition which constitutes the essence of 
God and of all beings is not the primordial being : it comes 
from Unity ; the Son comes from the Father and is a sec- 

1 Id., chap. ii. 40. 

2 Aurora, Pref., 97; 105: Goft, in dem Alles isf und der seller Alles; 
ist ; chap. i. 6 : Gott ist der Qiiellbrunn oder das TIerz der Natur ; iii. 12 : 
Er ist von Niclits Jiergekommen, sondern ist selher Alles in Ewigkeit ; 
iii. 14 : Der Voter ist Alles und alle Kraft hesteht in ikm ; vii. 20 : Seine 
Kraft ist Alles und allenfhalben ; vii. 25: Des Vaters Kraft ist Alles in 
und, Uber alien Ilimmeln ; and passim. 



ondary being. First nature, then mind ; first will without 
an object or self-consciousness (der U7igru7idliche Wille)^ 
then conscious will {dcr fassliclie Wille'^). 

Although we may without difficulty extract the charac- 
teristic conceptions of concrete spiritualism from these 
metaphors, they assume a purely theological form in 
Bohme. This pioneer of German philosophy is a seer, a 
prophet who does not seem to understand himself, so im- 
bued is he with the traditional view of things. Thought 
has simply changed masters in the Protestant world ; it is 
what it was before, a servant, ancilla theologim. It owes 
its final deliverance to the discoveries of Columbus, 
Magellan, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, who refute the 
accepted notions concerning the earth, the sun, and the 
heavens, and thereby destroy the prejudice which makes 
the Scripture what it neither is nor claims to be : an 
infallible text-book of physical science. 

§ 48. The Scientific Movement 2 

From the middle of the fifteenth century on. Western 
Europe experienced a series of surprises. Led by the Greek 
scholars who settled in Italy, she entered directly into the 
promised land, which the Arabians of Spain had in part 
revealed to her : I mean, antiquity with its literature, phi- 
losophy, and art. The historical horizon of our fathers, 
which originally bounded the Catholic era, grows larger 
and extends far beyond the beginnings of Christianity. 
The Catholic Church, outside of which nothing but dark- 
ness and barbarism seemed to prevail, was now regarded 

1 Mysterkim magnum, chap. vi. ; Von der GnademvaM, chap. i. ; Ati- 
rora, chaps, viii.-xi. 

2 See the works of Montucla, Delambre, Chasles, Draper, etc., 
quoted on p. 159; Humboldt, Cosmos, vols. I. and II. ; K. Fischer, 
Introduction to the History of Modern Philosophy, vol. I., 1 ; [Peschel, 
Geschlchte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen. — Tr.]. 



simply as the daughter and heir of an okler, richer, more 
diversified civilization, of a civilization more in accord 
with the genius of the Western races. The Romance 
and Germanic nations of Europe feel closely akin to these 
Greeks and Romans whom the Church excluded from her 
pale, but who were, in so many res^^ects, superior to the 
Christians of the fifteenth century in all the spheres of 
human activity. The Catholic prejudice, according to 
which there can be neither salvation nor real civilization 
nor religion nor morality beyond the confines of the 
Church, gradually disappears. Men cease to be ex- 
clusive Catholics and become men, humanists, and phil- 
anthropists in the broadest sense of the term. Not merely 
a few stray glimpses of the past, but the whole history of 
Aryan Europe with its countless political, literary, pliilo- 
logical, archaeological, and geographical problems are un- 
rolled before the astonished gaze of our ancestors. 
Henceforth the historical sciences, which received but 
little attention during antiquity, and were almost unknown 
to the Middle Ages, constituted an important branch of 
study, and finally occupied the centre of interest. 

Scarcely had man discovered humanity when he was 
made acquainted with the real form of his earthly habita- 
tion, of which he had hitherto seen but one of the facades. 
The Catholic universe consisted of the world known to 
the Romans, i. e., of the Mediterranean valley and the 
Southwestern part of Asia, with Northern Europe added. 
But now Columbus discovers the New World. Vasco De 
Gama sails around the Cape of Good Hope and finds the 
sea-route to India ; above all, Magellan succeeds in making 
the tour of the earth. These discoveries verify an hypo- 
thesis with which the ancients had long been familiar, — 
the hypothesis that our earth is a globe, isolated and sus- 
pended in space. What could be more natural than to 
infer that the stars too float in space without being attached 



to anything, and that the spheres of Aristotle are mere 
illusions ? 

The earth is now conceived as a globe, but everybody 
still regards it as the immovable centre around which the 
heavenly spheres revolve. Tycho Bkahe directs the first 
attack against the traditional and popular cosmography by 
placing the sun in the centre of the planetary system ; but 
he still believes that this solar system revolves around the 
earth. Copeenicus^ takes the decisive step by placing 
the earth among the planets and the sun in the centre of 
the system. This theory, wlrich had already been advanced 
by several of the ancients,^ and which Copernicus presents 
merely as an hypothesis, is confirmed by the splendid labors 
of Kepler,^ who discovers the form of the planetary orbits 
and the laws of their motion ; and of Galileo,* who teaches 
that the earth has a double motion, and, with a telescope 
of his own construction, discovers the satellites of Jupiter 
and the law of their revolution. 

The heliocentric theory arouses great alarm in both 
Churches. Kepler is persecuted; Galileo is forced to 
retract. The stubborn conservatives maintain that the 
acceptance of the Copernican system would destroy the 
very foundations of Christianity. If the sun is the centre 
of the planetary orbits, if the earth moves, then, so they 
hold, Joshua did not perform his miracle, then the Bible 
is in error, and the Church fallible. If the earth is a 
planet, then it moves in heaven^ and is no longer the anti- 
thesis of heaven; then heaven and earth are no longer 

1 De orhium ccdestium revolutionibus libri VI., Nuremberg, 1543. 

2 g 22. 

3 Astronomia nova, Prague, 1609, etc. ; Complete Works, ed. by 
Frisch, Frankfurt, 1858 ff. [Cf. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, I. pp. 182- 
220 ; Eucken, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der neuern Philosopliie.~\ 

^ Complete Works, ed. Alberti, Florence, 1843 ff. [Cf. Natorp, 
Galilei ah Philosoph, Philos. Monatsliefte, 1882, pp. 193 ff.] 



opposed,- as tradition assumed, but form one indivisible uni- 
verse. Moreover, to affirm, in defiance of Aristotle, that 
the world is infinite, is to deny the existence of a heaven 
apart from the universe, of a supernatural order of things, 
of a God on high. That is the way the Church reasoned; 
she identified faith with doctrines of faith, God with our 
ideas of God, and stamped the adherents of Copernicus as 

But in spite of the efforts of the Church, the new the- 
ories spread, the discoveries and inventions multiplied. 
First came the invention of printing, then the compass, 
and then the telescope. Before Nev/ton completed the 
new cosmology by his theory of universal attraction, and 
ti'ansformed what, until then, had been a mere hypothesis 
into an axiom, the sciences had shaken off the yoke of 
Scholasticism, and slowly but surely advanced. Leonardo 
DA Vinci and his fellow-countryman Fhacastok continue 
the labors of Archimedes and the scholars of Alexandria in 
physics, optics, and mechanics. The Frenchman Viete 
extends the limits of algebra and applies it to geometry ; 
and the Englishman Neper (Lord John Napier) invents 
the logarithms. In biology, the Belgian Vesale, by his 
De corporis humarii fahrica (1553), lays the foundation of 
the science of human anatomy ; and the Englishman Har- 
vey, in a work published 1628,^ proves the theory of the 
circulation of the blood, previously advanced by the Span- 
iard Michel Servet,^ and the Italians Realdo Colombo ^ 
and Andreas Csesalpinus.^ 

Of all the modern discoveries, the Copernican theory 

^ De motu cordis et sanguinis, Frankfurt, 1628. 

2 Pulmonary circulation is taught in a passage of the Christianismi 
restitutio, begun as early as 1546. 

2 1494-1559 ; Vesale's successor at Padua (1544), and the author 
of De re anatomica (1558). 

* In his Qucestiones medicoe, 1598. 




proved to be the most influential. The appearance of the 
Celestial Bevolutions is the most imjDortant event, the great- 
est ejpoc\ in the intellectual liistory of Europe. It marks 
the beginning of the modern world. By revealing to us 
the infinite^ which antiquity conceived as a mere negation, 
it did not, indeed, shake our faith in things invisible, — 
nay, it revived and strengthened the same, — but it seri- 
ously modified our ideas concerning their relation to the 
w^orld. For transcendentalism, the ruling notion of the 
Middle Ages, it definitively substituted the modern prin- 
ciple of divine immanency} 

Tills conception had as its necessary consequence the 
philosophical reform, which was inaugurated by the free- 
thinkers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and 
continued, about the year 1600, by a number of bold 
imiovators (Bruno in Italy, Bacon in England, Descartes 
in France). 

^ Hegel (o. c), who recognizes in immanency the ruling thought of 
the modern world, though dating it from the Lutheran Reformation, 
characterizes the transition from the Middle Ages to our own epoch 
as foUows ; " It seemed to mankind as though God had just created 
sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals ; as if the laws of nature had 
just been established. IsTow, for the first time, they became interested 
in aU these things, recognizing their own reason in the universal rea- 
son. War was declared, in the name of the natural laws, against the 
great superstition of the period, and against the prevailing notions 
regarding the formidable and remote powers, which, as was thought, 
could not be overcome except by magic. In the battle which ensued, 
Catholics and Protestants fought side by side." 





§ 49. Giordano Bruno 

Giordano Bruno ^ was born at Nola, near Naples, in 
1548. While still a young man, he entered the Domini- 

1 [For references, see especially pp. 12-15. — Tr.] 

2 The Italian writings edited by A. Wagner, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1829 ; 
[new edition by P. de Lagarde, 2 vols., Gottingen, 1888-89] ; Latin 
writings ed. by A. F. Gfrorer, Stuttgart, 1834, incomplete ; [also by 
Fiorentino and others, 4 vols., Naples, 1880, 1886; Florence, 1889; 
W. Lutoslawski, Jordani Bruni Nolani 0pp. inedita manu propria scripta, 
Archiv f. GescUchte der Philos., II., 326-371, 394-417 ; F. Tocco, Le 
opere inedite di G. B., Naples, 1891. — Tr.]. See Christian Barthol- 
mess, Jordano Bruno, 2 vols., Paris, 1846-47 ; [R. Mariano, G. B., la 
vita el Twomo, Rome, 1881]; H. Brunnhofer, G. B.'s Weltanschauung 
und Verhdngmss, Leipsic, 1882 ; [J. Frith, Life of G. B., the Nolan, 
revised by M. Carriere, London, 1887 ; Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, I., 
pp. 49 ff. — ■ Tr.]. M. Felice Tocco has published : Le opere latine di 
G. B. esposte e confrontate con le italiane, Florence, 1889, and Le opere 
inedite di G. B. M. Tocco distinguishes three phases in the philo- 
sophical development of Bruno : a Neo-Platonic, an Eleatic and Herar 
clitean, and a Democritean phase. With the head of the materialistic 
school, Bruno advances the notion of an infinite number of worlds 
and the theory of atoms, which, from his animistic point of view, 
become monads. Bartholmess lays especial stress on the first of these 
phases ; Brunnhofer, on the second ; but neither interpretation ex- 
hausts Bruno's thought. 



can order, but the influence exercised upon him by the 
writings of Nicolas Cusanus, Raymond LuUus, Telesio, 
and liis profound love of nature, soon turned him against 
the monastic life and Catholicism. He visited Geneva, 
where he met with bitter disappointments, Paris, London, 
and Germany, journeying from Wittenberg to Prague, from 
Helmstaedt to Frankfort. But Protestantism proved no 
more satisfactory to him than the religion of his fathers. 
Upon his return to Italy he was arrested at Venice by order 
of the Inquisition, imprisoned for two years, and then burnt 
at the stake in Rome (1600). His adventurous life did not 
hinder him from writing numerous treatises, the most 
remarkable of which are the following ; Delia causa^ prin- 
cijno ed itno ^ (Venice, 1584) ; Del infinito universo e dei 
mondi ^ (id,, 1584) ; De triplici minimo et mensura (Frank- 
fort, 1591) ; De monade, numero et figura (id., 1591) ; De 
immenso et imiumerahilibus s. de universo et mundis ^ (id. 

Bruno was the first metaphysician of the sixteenth cen- 
tury who unreservedly accepted the heliocentric system. 
Aristotle's spheres and divisions of the world he regarded 
as purely imaginary. Space, he held, has no such limits, 
no insurmountable barriers separating our world from an 
extra-mundane region reserved for pure spirits, angels, 
and the supreme Being. Heaven is the infinite universe.* 
The fixed stars are so many suns, surrounded by planets, 
which, in turn, are accompanied by satellites. The earth 
is a mere planet, and does not occupy a central and 
privileged place in the heavens. The same may be said 
of our sun, for the universe is a system of solar systems. 

1 [German transl. by A. Lasson in Kirchmann's PhilosopMscTie Bib 
liothek, 2d ed. 1889. — Tr.] 

2 [German transl. by L. Kuhlenbeck, Berlin, 1893. — Tr.] 

3 \Td., 1890. — Tr.] 

* De immenso et invnmerahilihns, p. 150. 



If the universe is infinite, we must necessarily reason 
as follows : There cannot be two infinities ; now the exist- 
ence of the world cannot be denied ; hence God and the 
universe are but one and the same being. In order to 
escape the charge of atheism, Bruno distinguishes between 
the universe and the world: God, the infinite Being, or 
the Universe^ is the principle or the eternal cause of the 
world : natura nahcrans ; the world is the totality of his 
effects or phenomena : natura naturata. It would, he 
thinks, be atheism to identify God with the worlds for the 
world is merely the sum of individual beings, and a sum is 
not a being, but a mere phrase. But to identify God with 
the universe is not to deny him ; on the contrary, it is to 
magnify him; it is to extend the idea of the supreme 
Being far beyond the limits assigned to him by those who 
conceive him as a being hy the side of other beings, i. e., as a 
finite being. Hence Bruno loved to call himself Fhilotheos,^ 
in order to distinguish clearly between his conception and 
atheism. This proved to be a useless precaution, and did 
not succeed in misleading his judges. 

As a matter of fact, the God of Bruno is neither the 
creator nor even the first mover, but the soul of the world ; 
he is not the transcendent and temporary cause, but, as 
Spinoza would say, the immanent cause, i. e., the inner and 
permanent cause of things ; he is both the material and 
formal principle which produces, organizes, and governs 
them f rom ivithin outwardly : in a word, their eternal sub- 
stance. The beings which Bruno distinguishes by the 
words " universe " and " world," natura naturans and 
natura naturata, really constitute but one and the same 
thing, considered sometimes from the realistic standpoint 
(in the mediaeval sense), sometimes from the nominalistic 
standpoint.2 The universe, which contains and produces 

1 PhiJothem Jordanus Brunus Nolanus de compendiosa arcJiUectura et 
complement o nrtis Lullii, Paris, 1582. 

2 Delia causa, 72 ff. 



all things, has neither beginning nor end ; the world (that 
is, the beings Avhich it contains and produces) has a begin- 
ning and an end. The conception of nature and of neces- 
sary production takes the place of the notion of a creator 
and free creation. Freedom and necessity are synonymous ; 
being, power, and will constitute in God but one and the 
same indivisible act.^ 

The creation of the world does not in any way modify 
the God-universe, the eternally-identical, immutable, in- 
commensurable, and incomparable Being. By unfolding 
himself, the infinite Being produces a countless number 
of genera, species, and individuals, and an infinite variety 
of cosmical laws and relations (which constitute the life of 
the universe and the phenomenal world), without himself 
becoming a genus, species, individual, or substance, or 
subjecting himself to any law, or entering into any rela- 
tions. He is an absolute and indivisible unity, having 
nothing in common with numerical unity ; he is in all 
things, and all things are in him. In him every existing 
thing lives, moves, and has its being. He is present in 
the blade of grass, in the grain of sand, in the atom that 
floats in the sunbeam, as well as in the boundless All, — 
that is, he is omnipresent, because he is indivisible. The 
substantial and natural omnipresence of the infinite Being 
both explains and destroys the dogma of his supernatural 
presence in the consecrated host, which the ex-Dominican 
regards as the corner-stone of Christianity. Because of 
this real all-presence of the infinite One, everytliing in 
nature is alive ; nothing can be destroyed ; death itself is 
but a transformation of life. The merit of the Stoics con- 
sists in their having recognized the world as a living 
being ; that of the Pythagoreans, in having recognized the 
mathematical necessity and immutability of the laws gov- 
erning eternal creation.^ 

^ De immenso et innumerabilihus ^ I., 11. ^ Id., VIII., 10. 




Bruno sometimes calls the Infinite, the Universe, or God, 
matter. Matter is not the jxr) 6v of Greek idealism and 
the Schoolmen. It is inextended, i. e., immaterial in its 
essence, and does not receive its being from a positive 
principle outside of itself (the form) ; it is, on the contrary, 
the real source of all forms ; it contains them all in germ, 
and produces them in succession. What was first a seed 
becomes a stalk, then an ear of corn, then bread, then 
chyle, then blood, then animal semen, then an embryo, 
then a man, then a corpse, and then returns to earth or 
stone or some other material, only to pass through the 
same stages again. Thus we have here something that is 
changed into all things, and yet remains substantially the 
same. Hence, matter alone seems to be stable and eternal, 
and deserves to be called a principle. Being absolute, it 
includes all forms and all dimensions, and evolves out of 
itself the infinite variety of forms in which it appears. 
When we say a thing dies, we mean that a new thing has 
been produced ; the dissolution of a combination means the 
formation of a new one. 

The human soul is the highest evolution of cosmical life. 
It springs from the substance of all things through the 
action of the same force that produces an ear from a grain 
of wheat. All beings whatsoever are both body and soul : 
all are living monads^ reproducing, in a particular form, 
the Monad of monads, or the God-universe. Corporeality 
is the effect of an outward movement or the expansive 
force of the monad; in thought the movement of the 
monad returns upon itself. This double movement of 
expansion and concentration constitutes the life of the 
monad. The latter lasts as long as the backward and for- 
ward motion producing it, and dies as soon as this ceases ; 
but it disappears only to arise again, in a new form, soon 
after. The evolution of the living being may be described 
as the expansion of a vital centre ; life, as the duration of 



the sphere ; death, as the contraction of the sphere and its 
return to the vital centre whence it sprang.^ 

All these conceptions, especially the evolutionism of^^ 
Bruno, we shall meet again in the systems of Leibniz,] 
Bonnet, Diderot, and Hegel, which his philosophy contains | 
in germ and in the undifferentiated state, as it were. As 
the synthesis of monism and atomism, idealism and ma- 
terialism, speculation and observation, it is the common 
source of modern ontological doctrines. 

§ 50. Tommaso Campanella 

Another Southern Italian and Dominican, Tommaso 
Ca]VIPANELLA,2 anticipated the English and German essays 
concerning human understanding, i. e., modern criticism. 
This doughty champion of philosophical reform and Italian 
liberty was born near Stilo in Calabria, 1568, and died at 
Paris, 1639, after spending twenty-seven years in a Nea- 
politan dungeon on the charge of having conspired against 
the Spanish rule. 

Campanella is a disciple of the Greek sceptics. This 
school taught him that metaphysics is built on sand unless 
it rests on a theory of knowledge. His philosophy conse- 
quently first discusses the formal question.^ 

Our knowledge springs from two sources : sensible ex- 
perience and reasoning ; it is empirical or speculative. 

^ De triplici rninimo, pp. 10-17. 

2 Opere di Tommaso Campanella ed. by A. d'Ancona, Turin, 1854 
[CampanellcB Philosophia sensibus demonstrata, Naples, 1590 ; Philos. 
rationalis et realis partes V., Paris, 1638 ; Uniuersalis pJiilosopJiice sine 
metaphysicarum rerum juxta propria dogmata partes III., id., 1638 ; 
Atheismus triumphatus, Rome, 1631 ; De gentilismo non retinendo, Paris, 
1836, etc.) ; [Cf. Baldachini, Vita e Jilosojia di T. C, Naples, 1840-43; 
Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, I., pp. 125 ff. — Tr.] 

8 For Campanella's theory of knowledge, see especially the Intro- 
duclion to his Universal Philosophy or Metaphysics, 



Is the knowledge acquired by sensation certain ? Most 
of the ancients are of the opinion that the testimony of the 
senses must be ignored, and the sceptics sum up their 
doubts in the following argument : The object perceived 
by the senses is nothing but a modification of the subject, 
and the facts which, the senses tell us, are taking place 
outside of us, are in reality merely taking place in us. 
The senses are my senses ; they are a part of myself ; sen- 
sation is a fact produced in me, a fact which I explain by 
an external cause ; whereas the thinking subject might be 
its determining but unconscious cause as easily as any 
ohject. In that event, how can we reach a certain knowl- 
edge of the existence and nature of external things ? If 
the object which I perceive is merely my sensation, how can 
I prove that it exists outside of me ? By the inner sense, 
Campanella answers. Sense-perception must derive the 
character of certitude, which it does not possess in itself, 
from reason ; reason transforms it into knowledge. Though 
the metaphysician may doubt the veracity of the senses, he 
cannot suspect the inner sense. Now, the latter reveals 
to me my existence immediately, and in such a way as to 
exclude even the shadow of a doubt ; it reveals me to 
myself as a being that exists, and acts, and knows, and 
wills ; as a being, furthermore, that is far from doing and 
knowing everything. In other Avords, the inner sense 
reveals to me both my existence and its limitations. Hence 
I necessarily conclude that there is a being that limits me, 
an objective world different from myself, or a non-ego ; and 
thus I demonstrate by the a posteriori method a truth that 
is instinctive, or a priori, or prior to all reflection : the 
existence of the non-ego is the cause of the sensible per- 
ception in me.^ 

Does this argument refute scepticism ? To tell the 
truth, it only half refutes it, and our philosopher has no 

^ Universalis philos. sive metaphys., Part I., 1, c. 3. 



thought of claiming the victory. Indeed, it does not neces- 
sarily follow that because the senses are veridical in show- 
ing us objects, they show us the latter as they are. The 
agreement which, dogmatism assumes, exists between our 
mode of conceiving things and their mode of being, is, 
according to Campanella, a consequence of the analogy of 
beings, and this, in turn, is the consequence of an indemon- 
strable truth : their unitary origin. Besides, he will not 
grant that the human mind has an absolute knowledge of 
things. Our knowledge may be correct without ever being 
complete. Compared with God's knowledge, our knowledge 
is insignificant and as nothing. We should know things 
as they are, if knowledge were a pure act (if to perceive 
were to create). In order to know the things in them- 
selves, or absolutely, we should have to be the absolute 
as such, i. e., the Creator himself. But though absolute 
knowledge is an ideal which man cannot realize, — an evi- 
dent proof that this world is not his real home, — the 
thinker ought to engage in metaphysical research. 

Considering its subject-matter, universal philosophy or 
metaphysics is the science of the principles or first condi- 
tions of existence (principia, proprincipia^ primalitates 
essencU). Considering its sources, means, and methods, it 
is the science of reason, and more certain and authoritative 
than experimental science. 

To exist means to proceed from a principle and to re- 
turn to it.i What is the principle, or rather, what are 
these principles ? for an abstract unity is barren. In other 
words : What is essential to a being's existence ? An- 
swer : (1) That this being he able to exist. (2) That there 
be in nature an Idea of which this being is the realization 
(for without knowledge nature would never produce any- 
thing). (3) That there be a tendency^^ or desire for realiz- 

^ Univ. phil. sive metaphys., P. I., 2, c. 1. 

2 By thus categorically affirming the will as the principium essendi, 




ingit. F ower (posse^ potestas, potentia esse7lc?^), knowledge 
(cognoscere, sapientia)^ and will (vclle, amor essendi), — such 
are the principles of relative being. The sum of these 
principles, or rather, the supreme unity which contains 
them, is God. God is absolute power, absolute knowl- 
edge, and absolute will or love. The created beings, too, 
have i:)Ower, perception, and will, corresponding to their 
propinquity to the source of things. The universe is a 
hierarchy comprising the mental, angelic, or metaphysical 
world (angels, dominations, world-soul, immortal souls), 
the eternal or mathematical world, and the temporal or 
corporeal world. All these worlds, even the corporeal 
world itself, participate in the absolute, and reproduce its 
three essential elements : power, knoAvledge, and will. So 
true is this that even inert nature is not dead ; nay, feel- 
ing, intelligence, and will exist, in different degrees, in all 
beings, not even excepting inorganic matter.^ 

Every being proceeds from the absolute Being, and 
strives to return thither as to its principle. In this sense 
all finite beings whatsoever love God, all are religious, all 
strive to live the infinite life of the Creator, all have a 
horror of non-being, and in so far as all bear within them- 
selves non-being as well as being, all love God more than 
themselves. Religion is a universal phenomenon and has 
its source in the dependence of all things on the absolute 
Being. Religious science or theology is so much higher 
than philosophy, as God is greater than man.'^ 

In spite of these concessions to Catholicism, in spite of 
his Atheismus triumpliatus^ and his dream of a universal 
monarchy for the Holy Father, Campanella's attempted 

Campanella differs both from the materialists and the pure idealists. 
No one before Leibniz more clearly conceived the fundamental con- 
ception of concrete spiritualism. 

1 Univ. phiL, P. T., 2, c. 5 ff. 

2 Id.. III., 16, 1-7, 



reforms were suspected by the Church, and miscarried. 
Philosophy coukl not hope to make any advance in Italy ; 
henceforth she takes u^) her abode in countries enlightened 
or emancipated by the religious reformation : in England 
and on both banks of the Rhine. ^ 

§ 51. Francis Bacon 

In England the philosophical reform receives the impress 
of the Anglo-Saxon character, and takes quite a different 
turn from the Italian movement. The sober and positive 
English mind distrusts the traditions of Scholasticism as 
well as the hasty deductions of independent metaphysics. 
It prefers the slow and gradual ascent along the path of 
experience to Italian speculation, which quickly reaches 
the summit, and then, unable to maintain itself, becomes 
discouraged and falls back into scepticism. It is impressed 
with the fact that the School and its methods had no share 
in the recent progress of the sciences ; that these intellec- 
tual conquests were made outside of the School, nay, in 
spite of it. The sciences owe their success neither to 
Aristotle nor to any other traditional authority, but to the 
direct contemplation of nature and the immediate influence 
of common-sense and reality. True, the bold investiga- 
tors of science reasoned no less skilfully than the logi- 
cians of the School, but their reasonings were based on the 

1 The most distinguished among the Italian philosophers of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centmies is Giovanni Battista Vico, who 
died in 1744. He is noted for his Scienza nuova (Naples, 1725), one 
of the first attempts at a philosophy of history. The attempt has 
been made by able modern thinkers like Gallupi, Rosmini, Gioberti, 
Mamiani, Ferrari, etc, (§ 71), to restore to Italy the philosophical 
prestige enjoyed by that country during the period of the Renaissance 
(see Raphael Mariano, La philosophie contemporaine en Italie, Paris, 
1868). [On Vico see Professor Flint's book in Blackiuood's Phil. 
Classics. — Tr.] 




observation of facts. Conversely, wlien they started from 
an a priori conception, or hypothesis, they verified it by 
experience, as Columbus did, and refused to recognize its 
truth until it had received this indispensable sanction. 
Thus we have, on the one hand, an utterly powerless and 
barren official philosophy; on the other, a surprising ad- 
vance in the positive sciences. The conclusion which 
forced itself upon English common-sense was the necessity 
of abandoning a priori speculation and the abused syllo- 
gism in favor of observation and induction. 

This conviction, which had been expressed by Roger 
Bacon as early as the thirteenth century, is jjroclaimed in 
the writings of his namesake FFcANCIS Bacon, Baron of 
Verulam, Lord Chancellor of England (1561-1626): De 
dignitate et augmentis scientiarum ; ^ Novum organum scien- 
tiarum,^ etc.^ 

* Appeared in English, 1605. 

2 First published under the title Cogitata et visa in 1612. 

3 Complete Works, [ed. William Rawley, Amsterdam, 1663] ; ed. 
Montague, London, 1825-34; H. G. Bohn; London, 1846; ed. Ellis, 
Spedding, and Heath, London, 1857-59, completed by J. Spedding ; 
The Letters and Life of Francis Bacon, including all his occasional 
works, newly collected, revised, and set out in chronological order, icith a 
commentary biographical and historical, London, 1862-72 ; [also a briefer 
Account of the Life and Times of Francis Bacon, by J. Spedding, 
2 vols., London, 1879] ; Bacon's works, tr. into French by Lasalle, 
15 vols., 8vo, Paris, 1800-1803; and by Riaux (CEuvres philosophiques 
de F. Bacon, in the Charpentier collection, 2 vols., 12mo, 1842). See 
Ch. de Remusat, Bacon, sa vie, son temps, sa jjhilosophie et son influence 
jusqu^a nos Jours, 2d ed., Paris, 1858 ; Kuno Fischer, Francis Bacon 
und seine Nachfolger. Entwickelungsgeschichte der Erfahrungsphiloso- 
phie, Leipsic, 1856 ; 2d ed., completely revised, 1875 ; [Engl, trans, by 
J. Oxenford, London, 1857]; Chaignet et Sedail, De Vinfluence des 
travaux de Bacon et de Descartes sur la marche de Vesprit humain, Bor- 
deaux, 18G5 ; [Th. Fowler, Bacon (English Philosophers^ Series), Lon- 
don, 1881 ; J. Nichol, Bacon (Blackwood's Philosophical Classics), 
2 vols., Edinburgh, 1888-89 ; Heussler, Francis Baco und seine 
geschichtliche Stellung, Breslau, 1889. Concerning Bacon's predeces- 



The problem is, to begin the whole labor of the mind 
again, to raise science upon an absolutely new basis {instau- 
ratio magna). If we would ascertain the hidden nature 
of things, we must not look for it in books, in the authori- 
ties of the School, in preconceived notions and a priori 
speculations. Above all, we must give up imitating the 
ancients, whose influence has retarded the progress of 
knowledge. With the exception of Democritus and a 
few positivists, the Greek philosophers observed bu.t little 
and superficially. Scholasticism followed in the footsteps 
of antiquity. It seems as though the Schoolmen had lost 
their sense of the real. Our knowledge is full of preju- 
dices. We have our whims, our preferences, our idols 
(idola trihus, fori, specios, theatri), and we project them 
into nature. Because the circle is a regular line and 
affords us pleasure, we infer that the planetary orbits are 
perfect circles. We do not observe at all, or we observe 
but poorly. We infer that because persons have escaped 
a great misfortune five times, some supernatural agencies 
have been at work ; and we fail to take account of the 
equally numerous cases when they did not escape. One 
may truly say with the philosopher who was shown, in 
a temple, the votive tablets susj)ended by such as had 
escaped the peril of shipwreck : But where are the por- 
traits of those Avho have perished in spite of their vows?" 
We assume final causes, and apply them to science, thereby 
carrying into nature what exists only in our imagination. 
Instead of understanding things, we dispute about words, 
which each man interprets to suit himself. We continu- 
ally confuse the objects of science with those of religion, — 
a procedure which results in a superstitious philosophy 
and a heretical theology, " Natural philosophy is not yet 

sors, Digby and Temple, see J. Freudenthal, Beitrdge zur Geffchichte 
fhrengl. PJiilos., A. f. d, G, d. Ph., IV., pp. 450-477, 578-603, V., 
pp. 1-41. — Tr.]. 



to be found unadulterated, but is im^jure and corrupted, — 
by logic in the school of Aristotle ; by natural theology in 
that of Plato ; by mathematics in the second school of 
Plato (that of Proclus and others), which ought rather 
to terminate natural philosophy than to generate or 
create it." 

Philosophy's only hope in this chaos of opinions and 
a priori systems is to break entirely with Greek and 
scholastic traditions, and to accept the inductive method. 
What traditional philosophy calls induction proceeds by 
simple enumeration, leads to uncertain conclusions, and is 
exposed to danger from one contradictory instance, decid- 
ing generally from too small a number of facts. Genuine 
induction, the method of modern science, does not hurry 
on rapidly from a few isolated and uncertain phenomena 
to the most general axioms, but patiently and carefully 
studies the facts, and ascends to the laws continually and 
gradually. In forming our general law " we must examine 
and try whether it be only fitted and calculated for the 
particular instances from which it is deduced or whether 
it be more extensive and general. If the latter, we must 
observe whether it confirm its own extent and generality 
by giving surety, as it were, in pointing out new particu- 
lars, so that we may neither stop at actual discoveries, nor 
with careless grasp catch at shadows and abstract forms." ^ 

It is an exaggeration of Bacon's merit to regard him as 
the creator of the experimental method and of modern 
science.^ On the contrary. Bacon was the product of the 

1 Novum organum, B. L, §§ 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 19, 26, 31, 38-68, 71, 77, 
79, 82, 89, 96, 100 ff. [Translations taken from Devey's ed. of 
Bacon's works in Bohn's Library. — Tr.] 

2 His scientific merit has given rise to an interesting controversy. 
See Ad. Lasson, Ueher Bacon's ivissenschaftlicJie Principien, Berlin, 
1860 ; Justus v. Liebig, Ueber F. Bacon von Verulam und die Metliode 
der Naturforschung, Munich, 1863 ; tr. into French by Tchihatchef, 
Paris, 1866. Cf. the j-eplies of Alb. Desjardins, De jure apud Fr. 



scientific revival of the sixteenth century, and his mani 
festo is but the conclusion, or as we might say the moral, 
which English common-sense draws from the scientific 
movement. But though he cannot be said to have origi- 
nated the experimental method, we must at least concede 
to liim the honor of having raised it from the low condi- 
tion to which scholastic prejudice had consigned it, and of 
having insured it a legal existence, so to say, by the most 
eloquent plea ever made in its favor. It is no small matter 
to speak out what many think and no one dares to confess 
even to himself. 

Nay, more. Though experimental science and its methods 
originated long before the time of the great chancellor. 
Bacon is none the less the founder of experimental philos- 
ophy^ the father of modern positivistic philosophy, in so 
far as he was the first to afiirm, in clear and eloquent 
words, that true philosophy and science have common in- 
terests, and that a sejparate metaphysics is futile. An out- 
spoken adversary of the metaphysical spirit, he expressly 
begs his readers " not to suppose that we are ambitious of 
founding any philosophical sect, like the ancient Greeks or 
some moderns ; for neither is tliis our intention, nor do we 
think that peculiar abstract opinions on nature and the prin- 
ciples of things are of much importance to meii's fortunes.''^ ^ 
Hence he not only opposes Aristotle, but " every abstract 
opinion on nature," i. e., all metaphysics not based on 

He distinguishes, moreover, between primary philosophy 
and metaphysics. Primary philosophy treats of the notions 
and general propositions common to the special sciences, 
viz. (according to Bacon's strange division, "that is derived 

Baconem, Paris, 1862 ; of Sigwart, Ein Philosoph und ein Nalurforsclier 
iiher Bacon [Preussische Jahrbiicher, vol. XXL, August, 1863 ; vol. XIII., 
January, 1864). 

^ Novvm organum, L, 116. 




from the three different faculties of the soul," memory, 
imagination, and reason) : history^ which includes civil his- 
tory and natural history ; poesy ; and philosophy^ which 
he divides into natural tlccology^ natural philosophy^ and 
human philosophy/. Metaphysics is the speculative part of 
natural philosophy ; it deals with forms (in the scholastic 
sense) and final causes, whereas the practical part of natural 
philosophy, or physics propei', deals oidy with efhcient 
causes and substances. But Bacon does not value meta- 
physics very highly, and it sounds like irony when, after 
having called final causes barren virgins, he assigns them 
to this science. As regards natural theology, its sole aim 
is " the confutation of atheism." Dogmas are objects of 
faith, and not of knowledge.^ 

This method of distinguishing between science and 
theology, philosophy and faith, reason and revelation, is 
diametrically opposed to the ways of the School. The old 
realistic Scholasticism identified philosophy with theology. 
Bacon, like the nominalists, cannot keep them far enough 
apart. He justifies himself for being a naturalist in science 
and a supernaturalist in theology on the ground of this 
absolute distinction, and a number of English thinkers 
follow his example. But the distance is not great between 
the exclusion of the invisible from the domain of science 
and its complete denial. Thomas Hobbes, a friend of 
Bacon, teaches a form of materialism which his political 
conservatism scarcely succeeds in disguising. 

§ 52. Thomas Hobbes 

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the son of a clergyman, 
born at Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, was the tutor of Lord 
Cavendish, and, owing to the latter's influence, a loyal 
friend of the Stuarts. Returning to his country after an 
absence of thirteen years in France, he devoted himself 
1 De dignitate et augm. sc., III. 



exclusively to literary labors.^ Hobbes's fame as a political 
writer and moralist has somewhat obscured his merit as an 
ontologist and psychologist. And unjustly so ; for he is the 
forerunner of materialism, criticism, and modern positivism. p 

Philosophy is defined by Hobbes as the reasoned ^^owl- 
edge of e ffects from causes, and causes from effects.^ Toy ^/1/1>^^ 
philosophize means to think correctly ; now, to think is ^o..^ • • ? 
" to compound and resolve conceptions," i. e., to add or / 
subtract, to compute, or to reckon ; hence, to think correctly 
means to combine what ought to be combined, and to sep- 
arate what ought to be separated. Hence it follows that 
philosophy can have no other object than composable and 
decomposable things, or bodies.^ Pure spirits, angels, 

^ Elementa pJiilosophica de cive, 1642 and 1647 ; Human Nature^ or 
the Fundamental Elements of Policy, London, 1650 ; Leviathan sive de 
materia, forma et potestate civitatis ecclesiasticce ei civilis, 1651; 1670 (in 
Latin) ; De corpore, 1655 ; De homine, 1658. [First Latin edition of 
his collected works (published by himself), Amsterdam, 1668 ; first 
English edition of his moral and political works, London, 1750] ; 
CEuvres philosophiques et politiques de Th. Hohhes, etc., transl. into 
French by one of his friends, 2 vols., 8vo, ISTeuchatel, 1787 ; His com- 
plete works (English and Latin), collected and edited by J. Moles- 
worth, 16 vols., 8vo, London, 1839-45 ; \_The Elements of Law, Natural 
and Political, ed., with preface and critical notes, by F. Tonnies. To 
which are subjoined selected extracts from unprinted MSS. of Th. H., 
London, 1888 ; Behemoth, or the Long Parliament, ed. for the first time 
from the original MSS. by F. Tonnies, London, 1889 ; Siehzehn Briefe 
des Th. Hobbes, etc., ed. and explained by F. Tonnies, A. f. G. d. Ph.^ 
III., pp. 58-78, 192-232; Hobbes's Leviathan in Morley's Universal 
Library, London. On Hobbes see : F. Tonnies 's four articles in Vier- 
teljahresschrift f. wiss. Ph., 1879-1881 ; same author, Leibniz und H., 
Philos. Monatshefte, 1887, pp. 557-573 ; and Th. H., Deutsche Piund- 
schau, 1889, 7 ; G. C. Robertson, Hohhes {Philosophical Classics), Edin- 
burgh and London, 1886 ; G. Lyon, La philosophie de Hohhes, Paris, 
1893. — Tr.]. 

2 De corpore, p. 2. 

^ Id., p. 6 : Suhjectum philosophice sive materia circa quam versatur 
est corpus. 



ghosts, and God, cannot be thought. They are objects of 
faith, and belong to theology, — not objects of science 
falling within the scope of philosophy. Corresponding to 
the division of bodies into natural and artificial, moral and 
social bodies, we have: philosophia naturalis (logic, on- 
tology, mathematics, physics) and philosophia eivilis 
(morals and politics). Physics and moral philosophy are 
both empirical sciences, having bodies as their objects, 
and outer and inner sense as their respective organs. 
Outside of the science of observation, there is no real 

From these premises follows a wholly materialistic theory 
of perception. Inner perception, the primary condition 
and basis of intellectual life, is merely our feeling of brain 
action. To think, therefore, is to feel. Knowledge con- 
sists in the addition of sensations. Sensation, again, is but 
a modification, a movement taking place in the sensible 
body. Memory, the indispensable auxiliary of thought, is 
simply the duration of sensation : to remember is to feel 
what one has felt. Sensations cannot be explained, in the 
manner suggested by some of the ancients, as effluences 
emanating from bodies, and similar to them. These simu- 
lacra rerum^ or, in the terminology of the Schoolmen, 
sensible and intelligihle species^ are, according to Hobbes, as 
bad as the occult qualities and other hypotheses of the 
Middle Ages. Instead, we must say : The simple motion 
which the objects produce in surrounding matter is com- 
municated to the brain by the mediation of the nerves. 

Hobbes here states a truth already known to Democri- 
tus, Protagoras, and Aristippus : the highly important truth 
of the wholly subjective character of perception. What 
we perceive — light, for example — is never an external 
object, but a motion, a modification taking place in the 

^ De corpore. 



cerebral substance.^ We need no further proof of this 
than the fact that light is perceived when the eye receives 
a more or less powerful blow ; the sensation is merely the 
effect of the excitement produced in the optic nerve. And 
what holds for light in general may be said of each par- 
ticular color, which is but a modification of light. The 
senses therefore deceive us in so far as they make us be- 
lieve that sound, light, and colors exist outside of us. The 
objectivity of the phenomenon is an illusion. ^ThejpiaLitie&. 
of th ings^ are accidents of our own being, and there is noth- 
iiig ob^ tiy ^ exc ept the moti^n^ arouses 
these accidents in us. Hobbes reasons as Berkeley after- 
wards reasoned ; but the latter carries out his argument to 
the very end; proceeding from sensualistic premises, he 
finally denies the existence of bodies, and culminates in 
subjective idealism. Hobbes only goes half way : the reality 
of matter is, in liis opinion, an unimpeachable dogma.^ — 
Soul or spirit he defines sometimes as brain action, some- 
times as nervous substance. By spirit, he says, I under- 
stand a physical body refined enough to escaj)e the obser- 
vation of the senses. An incorporeal spirit does not exist.^ 
The Bible itself make no mention of such a being. Ani- 
mals and man differ in degree only ; both being corporeal 
beings. We possess no real advantage over brutes except 
speech. We are no more endowed with free-will than the 
lower beings. Like them, we are governed by irresistible 
appetites. Reason without passion, moral principles with- 
out a material attraction, exert no influence on the human 
will ; it is impelled by the expectations of the imagination, 
the passions, and the emotions : love, hatred, fear, and 
hope. "A voluntary action is that which proceedeth from 

1 Human Nature, p. 6 : The image or colour is hut an apparition unto 
us of the motion, agitation, or alteration which the object works in the 
brain or spirits, or some internal substance of the head. 

2 Id., pp. 9 f. 8 ifi., pp. 71 f . 



the will ; " but the volition itself is not voluntary ; it is 
not our deed ; we are not the masters of it. Every act has 
its sufficient reason. According to the indeterminists, a 
free or voluntary act is one which, though there be a suf- 
ficient reason for its performance, is not necessary. The 
absurdity of this definition is obvious. If an occurrence or 
an act does not happen, it is because there is no sufficient 
reason for its happening. Sufficient reason is synonymous 
with necessity. Man, like all creatures, is subject to the 
law of necessity, to fate, or, if we choose, to the will of 
God. Good and evil are relative ideas. The former is 
identical with the agreeable ; the latter, with the disagree- 
able. Interest is the supreme judge in morals as in every- 
thing else. Absolute good, absolute evil, absolute justice, 
absolute morality, are so many chimeras, gratuitous inven- 
tions of the theological mind and metaphysics.^ 

Hobbes's system of politics is consistent with these onto- 
logical premises. Liberty he considers as impossible in 
politics as in metaphysics and ethics. In the State as well 
as in nature might makes right. The natural state of 
man consists in the helium omnium contra o nines. The 
State is the indispensable means of putting an end to this 
conflict. It protects the life and property of individuals at 
the cost of a passive and absolute obedience on their part. 
What it commands is good ; what it prohibits is bad. Its 
will is the supreme law.^ 

We shall not dwell on this absolutistic theory, the logi- 
cal consequence of materialism. Let us note in what two 
important respects Thomas Hobbes differs from Bacon. 
First, Hobbes teaches a system of metaphysics, — the 
materialistic metaphysics ; secondly, his definition of phi- 
losophy places a higher value on the syllogism than the 
author of the Novum organum sets upon it. The latter 

1 Treat, of Liberty and Necessity, London, 16-56. 

2 De cive, 6, 19 ; 12, 8 ; Leviathan, c. 17. 



had, in proclaiming induction as the universal method, 
overlooked (1) the part deduction plays in mathematics, 
and (2) the part played by the mathematical element and 
a priori speculation in the discoveries of the fifteenth 
century. Hence Hobbes occupies a position between pure 
empiricism and Cartesian rationalism. 

§ 53. Descartes 

Rene des Cartes,^ born 1596 at La Haye in Touraine, 
and educated by the Jesuits of La Fleche, spent the greater 
part of his life abroad. In Germany he fought as a lieu- 
tenant in the Imperial army ; in Holland he pubhshed his 

1 Works [Latin ed., Amsterdam, 1650 f£ ; French, Paris, 1701] ; 
French ed. by Victor Cousin, 11 vols., Paris, 1824-26 ; Philosophical 
Works of Descartes, by Garnier, 4 vols., Paris, 1835, and by Jules 
Simon in the Biblintheque Charpentier, 1 vol. 12mo, 1842 : Moral and 
Philosophical Works of Descartes, by Amadee Prevost, Paris, 1855 ; 
Unjmhlished Works of Descartes, by Fouclier de Careil, 1860; [/7w- 
puhlished Letters, by E. de Bude, Paris, 1868 ; by P. Tannery, A. f G. 
Ph., vols. IV. and v.; Engl, transl. of The Method, Meditations, and 
Selections from the Principles, by J. Veitch, 10th ed., Edinburgh and 
London, 1890 ; of the Meditations, by Lowndes, London, 1878 ; of 
Extracts from his Writings, by IT. A. P. Torrey (Series of Modern Phi- 
losophers), New York, 1892. — Tr.]. A. Baillet, La vie de Mr. des 
Cartes, Paris, 1691 ; Francisque Bouillier, Histoire de la philosophie 
cartesienne, Paris, 1854, 3d ed., 1868 [a history of Cartesianism] ; 
[C. Schaarschmidt, Descartes und Spinoza, Bonn, 1850] ; J. Millet, 
Ilistoir de Descartes avant 1637 suivie de Vanalyse du Discours de la 
methode et des Essais de philosopJiie, Paris, 1867; Bertrand de Saint- 
Germain, Descartes considerc comme ph//siologiste et comme 7nedecin, 
Paris, 1870 ; [J. P. Mahaffy, Descartes (Blackwood's Philosophical 
Classics), Edinburgh and Philadelphia, 1881. See also : M. Heinze, 
Die Sittenlehre des Descartes, Leipsic, 1872 ; Grimm, Descartes'' Lehre 
von den angehorenen Ideen, Jena,, 1873; G. Glogau, Darlegung u. Kritik 
des Grundgedankens der Cartesian. Metaphysik, Ztschr. f. Ph., vol. 73, 
1878; A. Koch, Die Psychologic Descartes', Munich, 1881; Natorp, 
Descartes' Erkenntnisstheorie, Marburg, 1882 ; K. Twardowski, Idee 
und Perception hei Descartes, Vienna, 1892. — Tr.]. 




PhilosoiMcal Essays^ comprising the Discours de la methode 
(1637), the Mcditationes de prima philosophia (1641), the 
Frincipia philosophiae (1644). His admirer Queen Christina 
invited him to Sweden, where he died 1650, the same year 
in wliich his Traite des passio7is de Vame appeared at Amster- 
dam. Besides the above, we must mention the following 
characteristic works : Le monde ou traite de la lumiere^ and 
the Traite de Vhomme ou de la formation du fcetus^ which 
were published after the death of the author. 

In order to understand Descartes the philosopher, we 
must remember that he was an emulator of (^assendi, 
Galileo, Pascal, and Newton, the successor of Viete, and 
one of the founders of analytical geometry. Descartes 
was a mathematician above everything else ; a geometrician 
with a taste for metaphysics rather than a philosopher witli 
a leaning for geometry and algebra. Indeed, his philoso- 
phy simply aims to be a generalization of mathematics ; it 
is his ambition to apply the geometric method to universal 
science, to make it the method of metaphysics. The Dis- 
course on Method does not leave us in doubt on this point : 
" Above all," he says, " I was delighted with the mathe- 
matics on account of the certainty and evidence of their 
demonstrations, but / had not as yet found out their true 
use, and although I supposed that they were of service only 
in the mechanic arts, I was surprised that upon founda- 
tions so solid and stable no loftier structure had been 
raised."^ And again : ''Those long chains of reasoning, 
quite simple and easy, which geometers are wont to employ 
in the accomplishment of their most difficult -demonstra- 
tions, led me to think that everything ivhich might fall U7ider 
the cognizance of tlie human mind might he connected together 
in the same manner, and that, provided only one should 
take care not to receive anything as true which was not so, 
and if one were always careful to preserve the order neces- 

* Dhcoui-is de la vitlliode (Torrey's translation), Part T., § 10. 




sary for deducing one truth from another, there would be 
none so remote at which he might not at last arrive, nor 
so concealed which he might not discover." ^ 

These passages and many others make it quite plain that 
the Cartesian method consists in mathematical deduction 
generalized. How, then, did Descartes come to be called 
the inventor of inner observation or the psychological 
method ? Descartes needed first principles from which to 
proceed in his deductions, and self-observation furnished 
him with such principles, from which he deduced all the 
rest more geometrico. Hence, those who regard Descartes 
as the author of the psychological method are right, in so 
far as observation is one of the phases and the preparatory 
stage, as it were, in the Cartesian method ; but they err in 
so far as they regard it as more than an introduction, or 
kind of provisional scaffolding for deductive reasoning, 
which undoubtedly constitutes the soul of the Cartesianism 
of Descartes, Let us add that Descartes not only uses 
inner observation ; he is a learned anatomist and physiolo- 
gist (so far as that was possible in the seventeenth cen- 
tury), and as such appreciates the great value of experience. 
He loves to study the great hook of the world ; ^ and for any 
one to oppose him to Bacon on this point is sheer ignor- 
ance. The most recent historians of Cartesianism justly ^ 
insist that it is impossible to separate Descartes the phil- 
osopher from Descartes the scientist; and French positi- 
vism, too, is right in reckoning among its ancestors a man 
who tried to make philosophy an exact science. Descartes's 
failing, a failing which he shares with very many metaphy- 
sicians, and which is the result of his scholastic training, 
consists in his impatient desire to conclude and systema- 
tize; which hinders him from distinguishing sufficiently 
between the method of scientific investigation and the 
method of exposition. 

1 Discount rie la. meViode (Torrey's translation), Part II., § 11. 

2 Id., Part I., § 15. 




^ The application of the geometrical method to metaphy- 
sics for the purpose of making it an exact science: that 
is the leading thought in Cartesianism. The geometer 
starts out from a small number of axioms and definitions, 
and, by means of deduction, reaches wonderful results. 
Descartes follows this method. He needs, first, axioms 
and definitions ; the first part of our exposition will show 
us how inner observation, aided by reasoning, supplies 
them. From these definitions he then deduces a series of 
consequences, which will form the subject of the second 

1. Observing that all he knows or thinks he knows he 
lias received through the senses and from tradition, and 
that the senses often deceive us, Descartes resolves to 
doubt everything ; to traditional science he opposes a radi- 
cal doubt. But he does not doubt merely for the sake of 
doubting. His scepticism, though radical, is provisional, 
and has for its object the creation of certain and self- 
acquired knowledge. He differs both from the philosophers 
of the Church and the sceptics properly so-called. The 
Schoolmen had said : Credo ut intelligam ; he however saj^-s*: 
Duhito ut intelligam. Pyrrho, Sextus, and Montaigne had 
doubted before him, but they did not succeed in mastering 
their doubts ; they were tired of seeking for the truth, and 
so made doubt an end in itself, a definitive and hopeless 
system. For Descartes doubt is but a means which he 
hastens to abandon as soon as he has discovered a certain, 
primary truth. This, rather than his scepticism, the fact, 
namely, that he adds to his negation a positive and emi- 
nently fruitful principle, makes him the father of modern 
rationalistic philosophy. 

What is this principle, and how does Descartes discover 
it? His very doubts reveal it to him. I doubt, says he: 
that is absolutely certain. Now, to doubt is to think. 
Hence it is certain that T tliink. To think is to exist. 



Hence it is certain that I exist. Cogito, ergo sum} Though 
Descartes derives the substance of his argument from St. 
Augustine, he formulates it differently; he presents it in 
such an attractive and precise form as to impress the mind 
and to gain its immediate approval. To the classical for- 
mula, cogito ergo sim, Cartesian philosophy owes a large 
share of its success. Descartes's motto is not, however, an 
inference, and he does not wish us to regard it as such. 
As an inference it would be a jpetitio princi2ni ; for the con- 
clusion is really identical with the major premise. It is 
a simple analytical judgment, a self-evident proposition. 

Here then we liave a certain basis, on which to con- 
struct a system of no less certainty than its fundamental 
principle ; for it is evident that all the propositions follow- 
ing necessarily from an axiom must be as true as the axiom 

Thus far, then, I merely knoAV that I exist. I can- 
not advance and extend the circle of my knowledge without 
exercising the greatest care ; I must remember constantly 
that self-evide7ice^ and that alone, is needed to make me cer- 
tain of anything. It is evident that I think and that I 
exist, but it is not evident that the object of my thought 
exists outside of me, for the nature which deceives me by 
making me believe in the rising and the setting of the sun, 
may also delude me by making me assume the reality of 
sensible things. My ideas may be merely tlie pi oduct of 
my own imagination. Heat, cold, and even disease, may be 
hallucinations. We should have to abandon all attempts 
to prove the contrary, we should forever remain confined 
within the narrow circle of certitude described by the sum 
quia cogito, and doubt everything else, did we not find 
among our ideas one whose foreign origin is self-evident • 
the idea of God or of the infinite and perfect Being.^ 

1 Discours de la methode, IV. Cf. the second Meditation. 

2 Meditations, III., V. 


This idea cannot be the product of my thought, for my 
thought is finite, limited, and imperfect, and it is self- 
evident that a finite cause cannot produce an infinite effect. 
Shall we say that the idea of the infinite is purely nega- 
tive ? On the contrary, it is the most positive idea of all, 
the one which precedes all the others, and without which the 
idea of the finite would not be possible. Shall we raise 
the objection that the human ego, though actually imper- 
fect, may be potentially infinite, because it strives for per- 
fection, and can therefore produce the idea of God ? But 
the idea of God is not the idea of a potentially-perfect 
being, it is the idea of the actually-infinite being. We do 
not attribute to God an acquired perfection. Our knowl- 
edge increases and grows more perfect little by little, 
perhaps indefinitely ; but nothing can be added to God, 
> the eternally-absolute and perfect being. Hence, if the 
I idea of God cannot come from us, it must necessarily 
come from God, and God necessarily exists. 

Moreover, the existence of God follows from the very' 
idea of the perfect being, for existence is an essential 
element of perfection ; Avithout it, God would be the most 
imperfect of beings. This argument, advanced by St. 
Anselmus, apparently makes the existence of God dejMud 
on our idea of the perfect being. Such, however, is not 
: Descartes's meaning. We should not say, God exists { 

(because my mind conceives him ; but, My reason con- 
ceives God, because God exists. The true foundation of 
our faith in God is not our own conception of him, — that 
would be a subjective and weak basis, — but God himself,| 
who reveals himself to us in the innate idea of infinity.l 
The objection that the existence of a mountain or a valley, 
for example, does not follow from the intimate and neces- 
sary correlation existing between the idea of a mountain 
and the idea of a valley, is a sophism. From the fact 
tluil I cJinnot conceive a mountain without a valley, nor 



a valley without a mountain, it does not follow that a 
mountain or a valley exists, but that the two ideas are In- 
separable from each other. Similarly, from the fact that I 
cannot conceive God except as existent, it follows that the 
idea of God implies the existence of the perfect Being.^ 

1 know, then, (1) that I exist ; and, (2) that God exists. 
The certainty of God's existence is a matter of the greatest 
importance ; on it depends all truth, all certitude, all posi- 
tive knowledge. Without it I could not advance beyond 
the cogito, ergo sum ; I should know myself and never know 
the not-me. It enables me to destroy the barrier erected 
by doubt between thought and external things. It teaches 
me (3) that the corporeal world exists. God, and God 
alone, vouchsafes the reality of my ideas ; the idea of 
God which he has implanted in me is the j^erpetual refu- 
tation of scepticism. In short, as long as I leave out of 

. account the idea of God, I may suppose that the sensible 
Avorld is an illusion caused by some evil demon, or by the 
nature of my own mind. But the existence of God as the 
author of all things being proved, it becomes evident that 
my instinctive belief in the existence of the world is well 
founded; for I receive it from a perfect being, that is, 
from a being incapable of deceiving me. Henceforth, 
doubt is impossible, and wdiatever trace of scepticism I 
may have retained is superseded by an unshakable confi- 
dence in reason.2 

^ In realit}^, the ontological argument is no more of an inference 
than the cogito, ergo sum. It is an axiom, a truth which the soul per- 
ceives immediately and prior to all reflection. 

2 Meditation, Y., 8 : " But after I have recognized the existence of 
a God, and because I have at the same time recognized the fact 
that all things depend upon him, and that he is no deceiver, and in 
consequence of that I have judged that all that I conceive clearly 
and distinctly cannot fail to be true ... no opposing reason can be 
brought against me which should make me ever call it in question ; 
and thus I have a true and certain knowledge of it. And this same 



The three realities whose existence has been proved, — 
God, the ego, and the corporeal world, — ■ may be defined as 
follows ; God is the infinite substance, on which everything 
depends and which itself depends on nothing ; the soul is 
a substance that thinks ; ^ the body is an extended sub- 
stance. By " substance " we can understand nothing else 
than a thing which so exists that it needs no other thing 
in order to exist.^ 

2. Observation and reasoning form the basis of the Car- 
tesian system. A priori deduction completes the struc- 

And here we find, at the very outset, a syllogism which 
contains the elements of the Spinozistic sj^stem. If sub- 
stance is a thing which needs no other thing in order to 
exist, it follows that God alone is a suhstance in the real 
sense of the tcrm.^ Now, by substance we can conceive 
notliing else than a thing which so exists as to need nothing* 
except itself in order to exist. There may be some ob- 
scurity in the phrase : to need nothing except itself ; " for, 
strictly speaking, God alone is such a heing^ and no created 

knowledge extends also to all the other things which I recollect 
having formerly demonstrated, as the truths of geometry and others 
like them ; for what is there which can be objected to oblige me to 
call them in question ? Will it be that my nature is such that I am 
very liable to be mistaken? But I know already that I cannot 
deceive myself in judgments the reasons for which I clearly perceive. 
Will it be that I have fornrerly regarded many things as true and 
certain which afterwards I have discovered to be false ? . . . Will it 
be that perhaps I am asleep ? . . . But even if I am asleep, all that 
presents itself to my mind with evidence is absolutely true. And thus 
I recognize very clearly that the certainty and the truth of all knowl- 
edge depend on the knowledge alone of the true God : so that before 
I knew him I could not perfectly know anything else. And now that 
I know him, I have the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge of an 
infinitude of things, not only of those which are in him, but also of 
those which belong to corporeal nature. . . ." 

1 Principles, I., 9-12. Id., L, 51. s 7^. 




thing can exist a single moment without being sustained 
and preserved by his power. Accordingly, the School is 
right in saying that the term " substance " does not apply 
to God and the creatures iniivocalhj} Hence, creatures 
are not substances in the proper sense. Some are sub- 
stances as compared with others ; they are not substances 
as compared with God, for they depend on him. 

Descartes, therefore, understands by relative and finite . 

substance a thing which needs nothing but God in order to 
exist ; by mode, that which cannot exist or be conceived 
without something else which is its substance ; by attribute, 
tlie essential quality of the substance, from which we can- 
not abstract without at the same time destroying the 
substance itself. 

Minds and bodies are (relative) substances. Thought 
constitutes the attribute, i. e., the essence of mind ; exten- 
sion, the attribute, i. e., the essence of body. 

From the fact that extension constitutes the essence of 
body, it follows : (1) That there can be no extension in 
the universe without body, i. e., no empty space ; nor 
bodies without extension, i. e., atoms ; (2) That the cor- 
poreal world is illimitable, since extension cannot be 
conceived as having limits (here Descartes contradicts 
Aristotle and agrees with Bruno) ; (3) That body has, 
strictly speaking, no centre, that its form is naturally 
eccentric and its motion centrifua-al ; for the centre is a 
mathematical point, and the mathematical point, inex- 

The properties of extension are divisibility, figurability, 
and mobility. But divisibility is merely a movement of 

^ Principles, I., 51. 

2 Id., I., 9 : By the word thought I understand everything that so 
takes place in ns that we of ourselves immediately perceive it ; hence, 
not only to understand, to will, to imagine, but even to feel, are the 
same as to think. 



separation and of union. Hence, the properties of exten- 
sion, and consequently of matter, consist in motion. 

There is no other motion than motion in extension, local 
motion or change of place. 

Furthermore, motion cannot originate in the bodies them- 
selves : they cannot be said to 7ifiove themselves^ to set them- 
selves in motion and to persist in it of themselves ; for 
bodies are extended, extended only, even in their smallest 
parts, and absolutely devoid of the inner principle, the 
centre of action and impulsion which we call soul or ego. 
They are entirely passive ; they do not move themselves at 
all, but are moved by external causes. We cannot even say 
that they are heavy, if we understand by weight a tendeney 
of the body to fall towards the centre of the earth, i. e., a 
kind of spontaneous activity in matter. /The material 
world knows no other law than the law of necessity. The 
particles of matter, to which the Creator originally imparted 
rectilinear motion, are distributed in vortices {tonrMllons)^ 
forming stars, then planets, which are extinguished stars, 
and finally other heavenly bodies. The science of the 
world is a problem of mechanics. The material world 
is a machine, an indefinite — not infinite — chain of move- 
ments, the origin of which is in God.^ 

However, we must not mix theology with our interpre- 
tation of nature ; and physics should entirely abandon the 
search for final causes, which has hitherto impeded the 
progress of this science.^ ^ 

Minds are diametrically opposed to bodies : i. e., they are 
essentially active and free ; and just as there is nothing 
inextended in body, mind contains nothing that is not 
thought, inextended, and immaterial. Body is everything 
that mind is not ; mind is the absolute negation of every- 
thing that body is. The two substances entirely exclude 
each other, they are entirely opposed to each other : body 
^ Principles, IF., III. 2 /,/., I., 28. 



is absolutely soulless ; the soul, absolutely immaterial (dual- 
ism of substances, dualistic spiritualism). ^ 

Like soul and body, the science of soul andjbhe science 
of body have nothing in compion. Physics should confine 
itself wholly to mechanical interpretation, while the soul 
should be explained only in terms of itself. 

Although sensation seems to be an action of the body 
upon the soul, voluntary motion, an action of the soul upon 
the body, this is not actually the case ; for there can be no 
reciprocal action between substances whose attributes ex- 
clude each other. \ Man is a composite being, a combina- 
tion of soul and body. The soul derives its sensible ideas 
from its own nature on occasion of the corresponding ex- 
citations ; the body, on the other hand, is an automaton, 
whose movements are occasioned by the volitions of the 
soul. The body and the soul lead separate lives ; the body is 
subject to necessity, the soul endowed with free-w ill ; being- 
independent of the body, it survives its destruction. The 
two parts composing the human being are so exclusive as 
to make a real union hctioeen soul and body absolutely imijos- 
sihle. " Those who never philosophize," Descartes ^ writes to 
Princess Elizabeth, and employ their senses only, do not 
doubt that the soul moves the Iwdy, and that the body acts 
upon the soul. But they regard them both as one and the 
same thing, i. e., they conceive them to be united ; for to 

^ Meditation, VI. Here we notice a striking difference between 
Descartes and Leibniz, between dualistic spirituahsm and concrete 
spiritualism. Descartes goes so far as to deny furce {tendance) to 
body ; while Leibniz attributes to it (i. e., to the monads constituting 
it) not only force, but also perception : it contains the idea which it 
desires to realize, without, however, being conscious of it. The char- 
acteristic trait of mind as compared with body is not perception but 
apperception, not the tendency itself, but the consciousness of the goal 
aimed at. 

2 A Madame J^lizabeth, Princesse Palatine (Letter XIX., Vol. III., 
ed. Gamier). 



conceive things as united is to conceive them as one and the 
same thingJ^ And when she objects that the reciprocal 
action between soul and body is a self-evident fact, and 
that it is easier to attribute extension to the soul than to 
contradict this evidence, Descartes replies : " I pray your 
highness kindly to attribute matter and extension to the 
soul, or, in other words, to conceive it as united to the 
body ; and after you have so conceived it and have tested 
the notion in your own case, it will not be difficult to see 
that the matter attributed to thought is not thought itself, 
and that the extension of this matter is quite different from 
the extension of thought : the former is bound to a certain 
place from which it wholly excludes the extension of the 
body, which is not the case with the latter, and your high- 
ness will find no trouble in understanding the distinction 
between body and soul in spite of the fact that your high- 
ness has conceived them as united." 

The theory, however, does not hinder Descartes from 
speaking of the reciprocal action between soul and body, 
as though this action were real and direct. His anthropol- 
ogy, particularly as formulated in the Traite des passions^^ 
everywhere assumes what his metaphysics denies. In con- 
tradiction to the very explicit statements which have just 
been quoted, Descartes holds that the soul is united to all 
parts of the body ; that it exercises its functions more 
especially in the pineal gland ; that the soul and the body 
act upon each other through the medium of this gland and 
the animal spirits. However, he never goes so far as to 
identify the " two substances." The Traite de Vhomme et 
de la formation dn fmtus ^ points out the distinction which 
he draws between them : the body walks, eats, and breatlies ; 
the soul enjoys, suffers, desires, hungers and tliirsts, loves, 
hopes, fears ; perceives the ideas of sound, light, smell, 

1 Amsterdam, 1650. 

2 Paris, 1GG4 (publisliGd by Cler.selier). In Latin, Anis!., 1677, 
cum notis Lud. de la Forge. 




taste, and resistance ; wakes, dreams, and faints. But all 
these phenomena are consequences — consequences and 
not effects — of movements caused in the pores of the 
brain, the seat of the soul, by the entrance and the exit of 
the animal spirits. Without the hody, and particularly 
without the hrain^ all these phe7iomena.^M^jweU jis th e memory 
in ivhich they ^n^e_j^rtrmifd , 'trould-jiisappear^ and nothing 
would be left to the soul except the conception of pure 
ideas of substance, thought, space, and infinity, — ideas 
which are wholly independent of sensation. Moreover, 
the ideas which need the cooperatio n of the senses, and 
consequently of the brain, are entirely different from the 
objects ivhich lue suppose them to represent. The idea is 
immaterial ; the object, material ; the idea is therefore the 
opposite of the ol)ject, even though it be its faithful image. 
Our ideas of material qualities no more resemble the ob- 
jects than pain resembles the needle causing it,^ or the 
tickling resembles the feather which occasions it. 

We see, the founder of French philosophy, though a 
rationalist and spiritualist in principle, really approximates 
empiricism and materialism. His animal-machine antici- 
pates the Man a Machine of La Mettrie. Though dog- 
matic in his belief that extension is a reality, he is the 
precursor of Locke, Hume, and Kant, in that he makes 
a clear and absolute distinction between our ideas of 
material qualities and their external causes. 

§ 54. The Cartesian School ^ 

The philosophy of Descartes clearly and accurately ex- 
pressed the ideals of its age : the downfall of traditional 

1 Traite du monde ou de la lumiere, chap. 1, Paris, 1664 (published 
by Clerselier). 

2 F. Boiiillier, Hhtoire de la pJiilosophie cartesienne ; Damiron, 
Histoire de la phdosopliie du dix-.feplieme siecle ; E. Saisset, Precursenrs 
et disciple.'^ de Descartes, Paris, 1862 ; [G. Monchamp, Histoire du Car- 
fe'sianisme en Belgiqiie, Brussels, 1887]. 



authorities in matters of knowledge, and the autonomy of 
reason. It met with immense success. Though accused 
of neologism and atheism by the Jesuits of France and 
the severe Calvinists of Holland, though attacked in the 
name of empiricism by Thomas Hobbes and Pierre 
Gassendi, and in the name of scepticism by Huet, Bishop 
of Avranches,^ and Pierre Bayle,^ it gathered around 
its standard men like Clerselier,^ de la Forge,* 
Sylvain R^gis,^ Clauberg,^ Arnauld,^ Nicole,^ Male- 


Even the leaders of militant Catholicism, Bossuet and 
Fi^NELON, felt its irresistible influence.^ 

1 1630-1721. Censura pJdlosophice carlesiance, Paris, 1669, etc. The 
sceptical freethinker Huet differs from Bayle, and resembles Pascal 
in that he teaches theological scepticism, i. e., a form of scepticism 
which serves as a stepping-stone for religious faith. 

2 1647-1706. Author of the celebrated Dictionnaire Idstorique et 
critique (Rotterdam, 1697 If.), and precursor of the religious criticists 
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [SeeL. Feuerbach, Pierre 
Bayle, etc., Leipsic, 1844.] 

3 Died 1686. Publisher of Opera postJiuma Descarfis. 

^ Tractatust de mente humana, ejm facultatihus et functionibus, Am- 
sterdam, 1669. 

5 1632-1707. Cours entier de la pMlosophie, 3 vols., Paris, 1690; 
Amst. 1691. 

^ 1625-1665. Initiatio pJiiJosophi s. duhitatio cartesiana,1655-, Logica 
vetuf! et nova; ontosophia ; de cognitione Dei et nostri, Duisburg, 1656; 
Opera philonophica, Amst., 1691. [See H. Miiller, /. Clauherg und 
seine Stellung im Cartesianismus, Jena, 1891.] 

7 Died 1694. Works, Lausanne, 45 vols., 4to, 1775-1783; [philo- 
sophical works published by J. Simon and C. Jourdain, Paris, 1893. 
See F. R. Vicajee, Antoine Arnauld, Bombay, 1881]. 

8 Died 1695. Philosophical works published by Jourdain, 1845. 
[For the Port-Royalists Arnauld and Nicole see : H. Reuchlin, 
Gesckichte von Port-Royal, Hamburg and Gotha, 1839-44 ; St. Beuve, 
Port-Royal, 3d ed., Paris, 1867]. 

® The former, in his Traite de la connaisance de Dieu et de soi-meme ; 
the latter, in his Traile de Vexistence et des attribute de Dieu, and his 
Letlres sur la melaphyfiique. 



Two great problems dominate the speculations of the 
new school. What is the relation between soul and 
body, mind and matter? That is the ontological ques- 
tion, with which the question regarding the origin of 
ideas and the certainty of knowledge, or the critical 
problem, is closely allied. What is the relation between 
the soul and God, — between human liberty, on the one 
hand, and divine omnipotence, on the other ? That is 
the moral question, which is closely connected with the 

In order to solve the former, reasoning and experience 
must be reconciled. If we consult the facts only, sensa- 
tion is evidently the body's action upon the soul, the action 
of matter on mind. And evidently, voluntary movement 
is the action of the mind on the body. We are acted upon 
by matter, and react upon it. Hence a relation, a very 
intimate relation, obtains between the two substances. But 
when they compare the results of observation with the 
dualistic metaphj^sics of the master, the Cartesians become 
involved in insoluble difficulties, and are confronted by 
mysteries on every side. The mind is a thinking sub-| 
stance and without extension ; the body, an extended and 
unconscious substance. The mind is nothino' but thoug-ht ; 
matter, nothing but extension. Now, though we may con- 
ceive that an extended substance receives an impulse from 
another extended sul)stance, and then communicates tl^s to 
a third substance, likewise extended, the aforesaid extended 
substance cannot possibly be moved by something abso- 
lutely inextended ; nor, conversely, can an absolutely inex- 
tended thing transmit any movement whatever to such an 
extended substance. We can conceive of mutual action 
between similar substances, but not between opposite sub- 
stances. Hence we cannot assume that a real influence 
{ivfluxus physic I' s) is exercised by the body upon the soul, 
or vice versa. 



According to Arnold Geulincx ^ of Antwerp and Nicho- 
las Malebranclie,^ a member of the Oratory of Jesus, the 
most illustrious representatives of the Cartesian school, 
the " apparent " action between soul and body can be 
explained only by the supernatural concourse of God. 
God intervenes on occasion of every volition, in order to 
excite in our bodies the movement which the soul cannot 
communicate to it of itself, and on occasion of each cor- 
poreal excitation, in order to produce the corresponding 
perception in the soul. Our volitions are the occasional 
causes^ God the efficient cause of our movements ; the 
sense-objects are the occasional causes, God the efficient 
cause of our perceptions. 

1 1625-1669. Arnoldi Geulincx, Logica fundamenlis suis, a quibus 
hactenus collapsa fuerat^ restituta, Leyclen. 16G2 ; Metaphysica vera et ad 
mentem peripateticam, Amsterdam, 1691 ; TvoidL aeavrov sive Ethica, 2d 
ed., with notes, Leyden, 1675 ff. ; Physica vera, 1688; etc. [Philos- 
ophical Works of Geulincx, ed. by J. P. IST. Land, 3 vols , The Hague, 
1891-93. On Geulincx see : E. Pfleiderer, Arnold Geulincx, etc., 
Tubingen, 1882; same author, Leibniz und Geulincx, ib., 1884; V. van 
der Haeghen, Geulincx, J^tude sur sa vie, sa philosophic et ses ouvrages, 
Ghent, 1886 ; J. P. K. Land, A. G. u. seine Philosophie, The Hague, 
1895. — Tr.] 

2 1638-1715. De la recherche de la verite, oil Von traite de la nature, 
de Vesprit de Vhomme et de Vusage quHl doit faire pour eviter Verrenr dans 
les sciences, Paris, 1675 ; 1712 ; [new ed., with an introduction by 
F. Bouillier, Paris, 1880 ; Engl. tr. by Taylor, London, 1700, 1720] ; 
Conversations mctaphysiques et chretiennes, 1677; Traite de la nature et 
de la grace, Amsterdam, 1680, [, London, 1695]; Traite de 
morale, Rotterdam, 1684; [new ed. by H. Joly, Paris, 1882]; Medita- 
tions metaphysiques et chretiennes, 1684 ; Kntretiens sur la metaphysique et 
sur la religion, 1688; Traite de V amour de Dieu, 1697; etc. CEuvres, 
Paris, 1712; CEuvres, hj Genoude, 2 vols., Paris, 1837; CEuvres de 
Malebranche, published by Jules Simon, 4 vols., Paris, 1871. Blam- 
pignon, ^Jtude sur Malebranche, d'apres des documents manuscrits, Paris, 
1862 ; Loon Olle-Laprune, La philosophie de Malebranche, 2 vols., 
Paris, 1870-72 ; [Mario Novaro, Die Philosophie des Nicholas Male- 
branche, Berlin, 1893; rran9ois Pillon, U evolution de Videalisme en dix- 
huilieme siecle : Malfbranche et ses critiques {UAnnee philosophiqiie, 
IV., 189-1) ; Spinozisme rf Malehranchisme (Id. V.. 1805). — Ti;.\ 



Occasionalism concealed the boldest neo-ations beneath 
its seeming naiveness. For, in the first place, if there is 
no direct influence between mind and body; if God, that 
is, infinite wisdom and goodness, is the necessary and only 
mediator between matter and soul, we must conclude, with 
the Dutch Cartesian Balthasar Bekker,i that sorcery, 
magic, or spiritism, in every shape or form, is a detestable 
and ridiculous superstition. 

Nay, more. If God is the eflicient author of all my per-, 
ceptions and movements, I am nothing but a nominal, ap- 
parent, and fictitious subject, and God is the real subject of 
. my actions and thoughts : it is he who acts in me ; it is he 
who thinks in me. The former consequence of occasional- 
ism (God acts in me) was drawn by Geulincx, the latter 
(God thinks in me), by Malebranche. According to Geu- 
lincx, we are not, strictly speaking, minds, but modes of 
mind. Take away the mode, and God alone remains. ^ 
According to Malebranche, God is the abode of spirits, as 
space is the abode of bodies. He is to the soul what light 
is to the eye. Just as this organ dwells in the light, so the 
mind is in God, thinks in God, sees in God.^ We do not 
perceive the material things themselves, but the idea-types 
of the things, their ideal substance as it exists in God. In- 
deed, how could the eye of the mind see material things ? 
To see an object means to assimilate it, to make it our own, 
does it not? And how can substances which exclude each 
other by their very essence, how can mind and matter, pen- 
etrate each other ? How can the spiritual eye assimilate 

1 1634-1698. De pJiilosophia cart, admonitio Candida et sincera, 
Wesel, 1668; De hetoverde weereld {The World Bewitched), 4 vols., Leu- 
warden, 1690; Amsterdam, 1691 (a work occasioned by the appear- 
ance of the comet in 1680). 

2 Metaphysica, p. 56 : Sumus igitur modi mentis, si auferas modum, 
remanet Deus. Cf. p. 146. 

3 De la recherche de la verite', TIL, 2, 6. 




what is foreign to its nature ? Mind can see nothing except 

Cartesianism, though at first theistic, ultimately changed 
into a kind of pantheism in the systems of Geulincx and 
Malebranche, Avhich naturally led to absolute determinism 
in ethics ; for it made God the universal agent, so to speak. 
This element particularly impressed the Dutch Calvinists 
and the Catholics who accepted Jansen's and St. Augus- 
tine's teachings on predestination and prevenient grace 
(Arnauld, Nicole, Lancelot, etc.). These thinkers com- 
bined extreme rationalism with the mysticism of Pascal.^ 

1 1623-1662. (Euvres complkes, 1779; published by Bossut, 1819.' 
PenseeSf fragments el lettres cle Blaise Pascal, published by Faugere, 2 
vols., 1844 ; Pensees publ. dans leurs textes authent. acec une introduction, 
des notes et des remarques, by M. E. Havet, 2d ed., 2 vols., Paris, 1866; 
[Engl, transl. of Pascal's Thoughts by C. Kegan Paul, London, 1885 ; 
of Provincial Letters, 1889]. V. Cousin, Etudes sur Pascal, 5th ed., 
Paris, 1857 ; Vinet, J^tudes sur Blaise Pascal, Paris, 1848 ; 3d ed., 1876 ; 
Tissot, Pascal, reflexions sur les Pensees, Dijon and Paris, 1869 ; [Drey- 
dorff's monographs, 1870, 1875 ; E. Droz, J^lude sur le scepticisme de 
Pascal, etc., Paris, 1886. — Tr.] As a physicist and mathematician, 
and especially as a writer, the author of the Pensees and Lettres pro- 
vinciales ranks with Descartes. As a philosopher he was at first equally 
attracted by Cartesian dogmatism, which appealed to his " geometric 
mind," and the new Pyrrhonism of Montaigne. Then, owing to the 
influence of Port-Royal and the occurrence of an event which produced 
in him an entire change of heart, he became an enthusiastic adherent 
of Augustinian Christianity. His Pensees form the raw material,* so 
to speak, of what he intended to be an apology of his new faith. Rea- 
son revealed itself to him in all its weakness, and made him a sceptic ; 
nature appeared to him in all her ugliness, and made him pessimistic. 
It was the " heart " — we should say, the conscience — that revealed to 
him the real God, the living and personal God of the Gospel. For 
philosophy he henceforth had nothing but contempt. — Among the 
modern writers who have made a study of Pascal, Vinet possesses the 
merit of having presented him in his true light, i. e., as the. forerunner 
of Schopenhauer and Schleiermacher. • Cousin saw in Pascal nothing 
but the sceptical and maniacal element. Though not ignoring the 
pathological element in his mysticism, we, for our part, discover three 



But the system had only to be divested of its theological 
shell to become Spinozistic naturalism. 

§ 55. Spinoza 

Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza,^ Spinosa, or Despinoza, was 
born at Amsterdam, in 1632, of Portuguese Jewish parents, 

truths in his philosophy : fii'st, reason and experience, without con- 
science, cannot yield us real truth ; secondly, experience without con- 
science necessarily leads to pessimism ; and finally, the will — for that 
is what Pascal means by the words heart {cceur) and feeling {sentiment) 
— takes precedence of reason, and subjects it to its laws. 

^ Benedicti de Spinoza opera quoi supersunt omnia, tterum edenda 
curavit, prcefationes, vitam auctoris, nec non notitias, qiice ad hisloriani 
scriptoriiin pertinent, addidit, H. E. G. Paulus, Jena, 1802-03. More 
recent editions by A. Gfrorer, Stuttgart, 1830 ; Riedel, li. des Cartes et 
B. de Spinoza pra;cipua opera philosophica, Leipsic, 1813; C, H. Bruder, 
3 vols., Leipsic, 1813-4G ; completed by J. van Vlooten, Ad. B. de Sp. 
opera quce supersunt omnia, supplementum contin. tractatum de Deo et 
homine, etc., Amsterdam, 1802; [best edition by Van Vlooten and 
Land, B. de Sp. opera quotquot reperta sunt, 2 vols., The Hague, 1882- 
83]. Spinoza's complete works translated into French by Saisset, 
Paris, 1842 ; 1861 ; 3 vols., 1872 ; [into German by B. Auerbach, 2d 
ed. , 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1872 ; phil. works trans, into German by Kii ch- 
mann and Schaarschmidt (in the Philos. Bibliothek, 2 vols.). The Chief 
Works of B. de Sp., transl. into English by R. H. M. Elwes, 2 vols., 
London, 1883-84 if. ; Ethics, transl. by AVhite, London, 1883 ; 2d ed., 
1894; Selections, tr. by Fullerton, New York, 1892; new ed., 1895; 
transl. of Tractatus de intellectus emendatione, by White, New York, 
1895. — Tr.] Biographies of Spinoza by Coler (in Dutch, 1705, in 
French, 1706) and Lucas (La vie et Vesprit de Mr. Benoit de Spinosa, 
1719) ; Armand Saintes, Histoire de la vie et des ouvrages de Spinosa, 
Paris, 1842 ; J. van Vlooten, Baruch d^Espinoza, zyn leven en schriften, 
Amsterdam, 1862 ; [2d ed., Schiedam, 1871]. [T. Gamerer, Die Lehre 
Spinozas, Stuttgart, 1877 ; F. Pollock, Spinoza, His Life and Philosophy, 
London, 1880 ; J. Martineau, A Study of Spinoza, London, 1882 ; also 
in Types of Ethical Theory, Oxford, 1886; J. Caird, Spinoza, Edin- 
burgh, 1888; R. Worms, La morale de Spinosa, Paris, 1892; L. Brun- 
schvigg, Spinoza, Paris, 1894. See also K. Fischer's excellent volume 
on Spinoza, History of Philosophy, L, 2. For full references see Ueber- 
weg-Heinze and A. van der Linde, B. Spinoza Bibliografi^, Gravenhage, 
1871. — Tr.] 



who were, it seems, in good circumstances. In accordance 
with the wishes of his father he studied theology, ]but soon 
showed a decided j)reference for free philosophical specula- 
tion. After being excommunicated by the synagogue, which 
made unsuccessful attempts to bring him back to the faith 
of his fathers, he repaired to Rhynsburg, then to Voorburg, 
and finally to The Hague, where he died, a poor and per- 
secuted man, in 1677. His love of independence led 
him to decline the Heidelberg professorship of philosophy 
offered him by Karl Ludwig, the Elector Palatine. He 
wrote his principal works at The Hague between the 
years 1660 and 1677. In 1663 he published the treatise 
entitled: Benati Descartes princi2yioTum pJdlosophiee Pars 
I. et II. more geometrico dcmonstratce^ and in 1670, the 
anonymous work: Tractatus tlieologico-politicus, in which 
he discusses and gives rationalistic solutions of such prob- 
lems as inspiration, prophecy, miracles, and free inves- 
tigation. His chief work, Ethica more geometrico demon- 
strata^ and several other less important treatises, were 
issued after his death under the care of his friend 
Ludwig Meyer.^ His Tractatus de Deo^ homine, ejusque 
felicitate was unknown to the philosophical public until 

Spinozism, as set forth in the Ethics^ is the logical con- 
sequence of the Cartesian definition of substance,^ and the 
consistent application of the method of the French pliiloso- 

1 [Ludwig Stein has shown {Neue Aufschliisse uher den litterarisclien 
Nachlass und die Heramgabe der Opera postliuma Sp.'s, Arch. f. G. d. 
Ph., I, 1888) that the Opera posthuma were published by the physician 
G. H. Schuller and not by Meyer. Meyer most likely wrote the pref- 
ace. — Tr.] 

2 Published by Ed. Bohmer, Halle, 1852 ; [by Van Vlooten, Am- 
sterdam, 18G2 ; by Schaarschmidt, id., 1869. German translation ; by 
Schaarschmidt (vol. 18, Phil. Bihliothek), 1869; by Sigwart, 2d ed., 
Tubingen, 1881. — Tk.]. 

* Principles, L, 51. 



plier.^ Our author is not content with developing his 
doctrines by pure deductive reasoning, but also presents 
them more geometrico. From a certain number of definitions 
he deduces a system whose parts are logically connected 
with each other. This method of exposition is not an 
arbitrary form or a provisional framework : it is of a piece 
with the system, and, one might say, constitutes its perma- 
nent skeleton. When Spinoza treats of the world, of man 
and his passions, as Euclid in his Elements treats of lines, 
planes, and angles, it is because, in principle and in fact, 
he sets as great a value upon these objects of philosophy as 
the geometer upon liis.^ Just as the conclusions of geom- 
etry inevitably follow from their axioms, so the moral and 
physical facts which the philosopher considers follow with 
absolute necessity from the nature of things, expressed by 
their definitions ; and he no more inquires into their final 
causes than the geometer asks to what end the three angles 
of a given triangle are equal to two right angles. It is not 
his method that leads him to mathematical determinism ; 
on the contrary, he employs it because, from the very out- 
set, he views the world from the geometrical, i. e., deter- 
ministic standpoint. He agrees with Descartes, Plato, 
and Pythagoras that philosophy is the generalization of 

I. Definitions 

The fundamental notions of Spinoza's system are sub- 
stance, attribute, and mode. " By substance^^^ he says, " I 

1 We do not at all wish to be understood as denying the influence 
which the Jewish theology of the Middle Ages exercised on Spinoza's 
intellectual development. This influence is apparent, and it would be 
ridiculous to call it in question. It was owing to it that Spinoza found 
what he did find in Descartes ; he was already a pantheist when he 
took up the study of the French philosopher. Still, we must main- 
tain that his leading thought, and particularly his method, are the 
logical outcome of the Cartesian system. 

2 Tractatus politicus, c. 1, § 4; Ethics, III., Preface. 



understand that which exists in itself, and is conceived by 
itself, i. e., that which does not need the conception of any 
other thing in order to be conceived." ^ " By attribute I 
understand that which the intellect perceives as constitut- 
ing the essence of the substance." ^ " By mode I under- 
stand the modifications of the substance, i. e., that which 
exists in and is conceived by something other than itself." ^ 

II. Deductions 

1. Theory of Substance 

From the definition of substance it follows: (1) that 
substance is its own cause ; ^ otherwise it would be pro- 
duced by something other than itself, in which case it 
would not be a substance ; (2) that it is infinite ^ (if it were 
finite, it would be limited by other substances, and conse- 
quently depend on them) ; (3) that it is the only sub- 
stance ; ^ for if there were two substances, theywould limit 
each other and cease to be independent, i. e., they would 
cease to be substances. Hence there can be only one sub- 
stance, which depends on nothing, and on which everything 
depends.^ At this point Spinoza deviates from the Car- 
tesian philosophy; but he deviates from it because the 
system itself invites him to do so. Descartes himself had 

1 Ethics, I., Def. 3: Per suhsiantiam intelligo id quod in se est et per 
se concipitur : lioc est id, cujus conceptus non indiget conceplu alterius rei, 
a quo formari deheat. 

2 Eth., I., Def. 4 : Per aftributum intelligo id quod intellectus de sub- 
stantia percipit, tanquam ejusdem essentiam constituens. 

^ Eth., T., Def. 5 : Per modum intelligo substantioe affectiones sive id 
quod in alio est, per quod concipitur. 

4 Eth., T., Prop. 7. 6 /j.^ Prop. 8. ^ /^.^ p^ops. 11 f. 
Monotheism here becomes monism. According to monotheism, 
God is the only God but not the only being ; according to monism or 
pantheism, he is the only being and the only substance ; he is the only 
existing being {Eth., I., Prop. 14; Letter XLI.). 



intimated by his definition of substance that in reality 
God alone is substance, and that the word substance when 
applied to creatures has not the same meaning as when 
applied to the infinite Being.^ But instead of removing 
the ambiguity, he continued to call finite things substances ; 
and in order to distinguish them from God, created sub- 
stances^ as though liis definition could make a created, 
relative, and finite substance anything but a substance that 
is not a substance. Hence we must refrain from applying 
the term "substance" to things which do not exist by 
themselves ; the term must be reserved for the being 
which exists in itself and is conceived by itself, i. e., for 
God. God alone is substance, and substance is God. 

Substance being the only being, and not dependent on 
anything, is absolutely free in the sense that it is deter- 
mined solely by itself. Its liberty is synonymous with 
necessity^ but not with constraint? To act necessarily 
means to determine one's self; to act under constraint 
means to be determined, in spite of one's self, by an exter- 
nal cause. That God should act, and act as he does, is as 
necessary as it is that the circle should have equal radii. 
Because a circle is a circle, its radii are equal ; because 
substance is substance, it has modes , but it is free because 
its own nature and no extraneous cause compels it to 
modify itself. Absolute freedom excludes both constraint 
and caprice.^ 

Substance is eternal and necessary ; or, in the language 
of the School, its essence implies existence. It cannot be 
an individual or a person, like the God of religions ; for, in 
that case, it would be a determined being, and all deter- 
mination is relative negation.* It is the common source of 
all personal existences, without being limited by any of 
them. It has neither intellect nor will : ^ for both presup- 

1 Priyiciples, I., 51. 2 ^th., I., Prop, 17. 

3 Id., I., Prop. 17, Scholium. ^ gee also p. 331, 1. 8. 

s Etli., I., Prop. 32 and Corollaries. 




pose personality. Not being intelligent, it does not act 
with an end in view ; it is the efficient cause of things. 
"I confess," says Spinoza, "that the view which subjects 
all things to the indifferent will of God, and makes them 
all depend on his caprice (Descartes, the Jesuits, and the 
Scotists), comes nearer the truth than the view of those 
who maintain that God acts in all things w^ith a view to 
the good (suh ratione hoiii). For these latter persons — 
Plato, for example — seem to set up something outside of 
God, which does not depend on God, but to which God, in 
acting, looks as a model, or at which he aims as a goal. 
This surely is only another way of subjecting God to fate, 
and is a most absurd view of God, whom we have shown 
to be the first and only free cause of the essence and the 
existence of all things." ^ 

Though Spinoza calls God the cause of the universe, he 
takes the word " cause " in a very different sense from its 
usual meaning. His idea of cause is identical with his 
notion of substance ; his conception of effect, with that of 
accident, mode, modification. God, according to him, is 
the cause of the universe as the apple is the cause of its 
red color, as milk is the cause of whiteness, sweetness, and 
liquidness, and not as the father is the cause of the child's 
existence, or even as the sun is the cause of heat. The 
father is the external and transient cause of his son, who 
has a separate existence of his own. So, too, heat, though 
connected with the sun, has an existence apart from the 
star producing it : it exists alongside of and outside of the 
sun. The case is not the same with God as related to 
the world ; he is not its transcendent and transient cause, 
but the immanent cause ; ^ i. e., if we understand Spinoza 
correctly, God is not the cause of the world in the proper 
and usual sense of the term, a cause acting from without 
and creating it once for all, but the permanent substratum 

1 Eth., T., Prop. 3.3, Scliolium, 2. 2 1,1^ j.^ pj.^p, 18. 



of things, the innermost substance of the universe.^ God 
is neither the temporal creator of the world, as dualism 
and Clmstianity conceive him, nor even its father^ as 
Cabalistic and Gnostic speculation assumes ; he is the uni- 
verse itself, considered SUB SPECIE ^TEHNiTATis, the eter- 
nal universe. The words God and universe designate one 
and the same tiling : Nature, which is both the source of 
all beings (natiira naUirans sive Deus) and the totality of 
these beings considered as its effects {natura naturata). 

In short, Spinoza is neither an acosmist nor an atheist, 
but a cosmotheist or pantheist in the strict sense of the 
Avord; that is to say, his cosmos is God himself, and his 
God the cosmical substance. 

2. TJieory of Attrihutes 

Substance consists of infinite attributes, each of which 
expresses in its way the essence of God.^ The human in- 
tellect knows two of these : extension and thought. The 
cosmic substance is an extended and thinking thing ; ^ it 
forms both the substance of all bodies, or matter, and the 
substance of all minds. Matter and mind are not two op- 
posite substances, as in Cartesianism ; they are two different 
ways of conceiving one and the same substance, two differ- 
ent names for one and the same thing. Each of the attri- 
butes of the substance is relatively infinite. The substance 
is absolutely infinite in the sense that there is nothing be- 
yond it : the attribute is only relatively infinite, that is, 
after its kind.* Extension is infinite as such, and thought 
is infinite as such ; but neither extension nor thought is ab- 
solutely infinite, for alongside of extension there is thought, 

1 Hence, the Spinozistic conception of immanency impfies both 
permanency and, if we may use the term, interiorihj ; that is to say, 
the immanent God is both the inner and the permanent cause of the 

2 EtJi., I., Def. 6. 8 ifi^ 11.^ Props. 1 and 2. 
^ Id., I., Def. 6, Explanation. 



and alongside of thought there is extension, not counting 
such attributes of substance as are unknown to us. Sub- 
stance as such is the sum of all existing things ; extension, 
though infinite as extension, does not contain all existences 
in itself, since there are, in addition to it, infinite thought 
and the minds constituted by it ; nor does thought embrace 
the totality of beings, since there are, besides, extension 
and bodies. 

It seems difficult, at first sight, to reconcile the theory of 
substance with the theory of attributes. According to the 
former, substance is ens ahsolute indeterininatum ; according 
to the latter, it has attributes and even an infinity of attri- 
butes. Hence, Spinoza's God seems to be both an unquali- 
fied being and an infinitely-qualified being. It has been 
suggested that Spinoza, like the Neo-Pla tonic philosophers 
and the Jewish theologians who do not apply attributes to 
God, may have meant by attributes, not qualities inherent 
in God, the supra-rational, incomprehensible, and indefina- 
ble being, but the different ways according to which the 
understanding conceives God, i. e., purely subjective and 
human ways of thinking and speaking. An attribute would 
then mean : what the human understanding attributes^ as- 
cribes, and, as it were, adds to God, and not what is really 
and objectively (or as Spinoza would say, formally) in God ; 
and substance would be conceived as an extended and 
thinking thing, without really being so. Spinoza's defini- 
tion of attribute {id quod intellectus de substantia percipit 
TANQUAM ejusdem essentiam const ituens) is more favorable to 
this interpretation than one would suppose. In our opinion 
it signifies : that which the intellect perceives of substance 
as constituting the essence of it ; but it miglit also mean : 
that which the intellect perceives of substance as though it 
constituted its essence.^ However, if the second interpre- 

1 [The difference between the two interpretations may be more 
clearly stated as follows : Some construe the participle constltur'ns as 



tation were the correct one, Spinoza could not have said 
that the substance is an extended and thinking thing, nor, 
above all, that we have an adequate idea of it. Besides, it 
is wholly unnecessary to translate the passage in the sub- 
jectivistic and " non-attributistic " sense, simply in order to 
reconcile the seemingly contradictory theses of Spinoza. In 
fact, the contradiction is purely imaginary and arises from 
a misconception. The celebrated determinatio negatio est ^ 
does not signify : determination is negation, but : limitation 
is negation. By calling God ens absolute indeterminatum^ 
Spinoza does not mean to say that God is an absolutely in- 
determinate being, or non-being, or negative being, but, on 
the contrary, that he has absolutely unlimited attributes, or 
absolutely infinite perfections, — that he is a positive, con- 
crete, most real being, the being who unites in himself all 
possible attributes and possesses them without limitation. 

Spinoza evidently intended to forestall the objections of 
the non-attributists ^ by ascribing to God infinita attrihuta^ 
which seems to mean both infinite attributes and an infinite/ 
of attributes. God is therefore no longer conceived as 
having separate attributes, which would make him a par- 
ticular being ; he is the being who combines in himself all 
possible attributes, or the totality of being. Now each 
divine attribute constitutes a world : extension, the mate- 
agreeing with quod, while others refer it to intellectus. According to 
the latter (formalisfic) view, which is accepted by Hegel and Ed. Erd- 
mann, the attributes are mere modes of human thinking, they are 
merely in intellectu, not extra infellecttim, not realities in God. Accord- 
ing to the former (realistic) explanation given by K. Fischer and 
others, the attributes are not merely modes or forms of thought, but 
expressions of God's nature. They are not merely in the human mind 
but in God. God is equal to all his attributes. See Kuno Fischer's 
discussion of the point in his Geschichte der neuern Philosophie, I., 2, 
Book III., chap. III., 3. — Tr.] 

1 Letter L. 

2 Who maintain that to give attributes to God means to limit him. 



rial world ; thought, the spiritual world. Hence, we must 
conclude from the infinite number of divine attributes that 
there exists an infinite number of worlds besides the two 
worlds known to us, — worlds which are neither material 
nor spiritual, and have no relation to space or time, but 
depend on other conditions of existence absolutely inacces- 
sible to the human understanding.^ This conception opens 
an immense field to the imagination, without being abso- 
lutely contrary to reason. However, it must be added, 
strictly speaking : infinita attributa are boundless attributes 
rather than innumerable attributes. Had Spinoza been 
decided on the question as to whether the absolute has 
attributes other than extension and thought, he would evi- 
dently not have employed an ambiguous expression. In 
fact, his substance has extension and thought only, but it 
has them in infinite degree. 

Let us point out another difficulty. Spinoza holds that 
God has neither intelligence nor will ; yet he attributes 
thought to him, and speaks of the infinite intelligence of 
God. These two assertions seem to contradict each other 
flatly. But we must remember that according to Jewish 
and Catholic theology (and Descartes himself), God has 
not discursive understanding, which needs reasoning and 
analysis in order to arrive at its ends ; they attribute to him 
intuitive understanding, the vov<; TroLrjrt/co^ of Aristotle. We 
must remember, above all, that Spinoza's God is not the 
" author of nature," but nature itself. Now there is indeed 
reason in nature, but it is unconscious. The spider weaves 
its web without the slightest notion of geometry ; the ani- 
mal organism develops without having the faintest concep- 
tion of physiology and anatomy. Nature thinks without 
thinking that it thinks ; its thought is unconscious, an 
instinct, a wonderful foresight which is superior to intelli- 
gence, but not intelligence proper. By distinguishing be- 

1 LeUcrf! LXVT. and LXYU. 



tween cogitatio and intellectus^^ Spinoza foreshadows the 
Leibnizian distinction between perception and ap'perception, 
or conscious perception. 

As compared with Cartesianism, Spinozistic metaphysics 
has the merit of having realized that thought and extension 
do not necessarily presuppose two opposite substances. Its 
fruitful notion of their consubstantiality anticipates the 
concrete spiritualism of Leibniz. The assertion that one 
and the same substance may be both the subject of thought 
and the subject of extension is, as Leibniz aptly says, neither 
materialism nor idealism in the narrow sense of these terms ; 
it combines the truths contained in these extreme theories 
into a higher synthesis. It is not materialism ; for Spinoza 
does not hold that thought is an effect of movement, or to j 
use his own terminology, a "mode of extension." Each 
attribute, being infinite and absolute after its kind, can be 
explained by itself alone. Hence, thought cannot be ex- 
plained by matter and movement (by this thesis he wards 
off materialism) ; nor can extension and movement, i. e., 
matter, be the product of thought (by this thesis he wards 
off the idealism of Malebranche). But though thought and 
extension exclude each other in so far as they are attributes, 
they belong to the same substance ; conceived thus, mind 
and matter are the same thing (eadem res)? These " attri- 
butes of substance " are not dependent on each other ; mat- 
ter is not superior and anterior to mind, nor does thought 
in any way excel extension ; one has as much worth as the 
other, since each is, in the last analysis, the substance itself. 
This identity of substance, unrecognized by Descartes, ex- 
plains the agreement between the movements of the body 
and the " movements " of the soul in man and in animals. 
Since one and the same substance and, what is still more 
important, one and the same being manifests itself in the 
physical order and in the intellectual order, this substance, 

1 Eth., I., Prop. 31. 2 /j.^ 11.^ pi-op. 7, Scholium. 



this being, manifests itself in both spheres according to the 
same laws, and the two realms are parallel : ordo idearum 
idem est ac ordo rerum.^ 

3. Theory of Modes 

The modifications of extension are motion and rest ; the 
modifications of thought are intellect and will, ^^vement, 
intellect, and will, i. e., the entire relative world (^iiatiira 
naturata) are modes or modifications of substance, or, what 
amounts to the same, of its attributes. These modes are 
infinite, like the attributes which they modify. Movement, 
intellect, and will, the physical universe and the intellectual 
universe, have neither beginning nor end. Each one of the 
[nfinite modesconstitutes an infinite series of finite modes^ 
Movement, i. e., infinitely-modified extension, produces the 
infinitude of finite modes which we call bodies ; intellect 
and will, becoming infinitely diversified, produce particular 
and finite minds, intellects, and wills. Bodies and minds 
(ideas) are neither relative substances, which would be a 
contradiction in adjecto^ nor infinite modes, but changing 
modes or modifications of the cosmical substance, or, what 
amounts to the same, of its attributes.^ 

By distinguishing between infinite modes and finite 
modes, Spinoza means to say that motion is eternal, while 
the corporeal forms which it constitutes originate and decay, 
— that intellects and wills have existed for eternities, but 
that each particular intellect has a limited duration. Bodies 
or limited extensions are to infinite extension, particular in- 
tellects to the infinite intellect, and the particular wills to 
the eternal will, what our thoughts are to our soul. Just as 
these exist only for the soul, of which they are temporary 
modifications, so too this soul, like the body, exists only for 
the substance, of which it is a momentary modification. 
Compared with God, souls and bodies are no more sul> 

1 Eth., IT., Prop. 7. 2 jTeZ/er LXXI. 



stances than our ideas are beings apart from ourselves. In 
strictly philosophical language, there is only one substan- 
tive ; everything else is but an adjective. The substance 
is the absolute, eternal, and necessary cause of itself ; the 
mode is contingent, passing, relative, and merely possible. 
The substance is necessary, i. e., it exists because it exists ; 
the mode is contingent and merely possible, i. e., it exists 
because something else exists, and it may be conceived as 
not existing. 

In view of this opposition between imimUaUe substance 
and modes^ we may ask ourselves the question : How much 
reality do modes possess in Spinoza's system ? A mode is 
inconceivable without a subject or a substance that is modi- 
fied. Now, the substance is unchangeable, it cannot be 
modified ; hence the mode is nothing ; movement, change, 
the cosmic process, particular beings, individuals, bodies, 
souls, the natura naturata^ in a word, have no real exist- 
ence. Still this conclusion, which Parmenides and Zeno 
drew, is not Spinoza's. On the contrary, he declares with 
Heraclitus that motion is co-eternal with substance ; he 
makes an infinite mode of it. Unmindful of the principle 
of contradiction, but supported by_experi^nc^e, Ee affirins 
both the immu tability and the pe rpetual change of being. 
In this conflict between reasoning and the evidence of facts, 
which is as old as metaphysics, he deserves credit for not 
sacrificing thought to reality, or experience to reason. But 
he tries to smooth over the difficulty ; he does not perceive, 
or does not wish to perceive, the antinomy, leaving it to 
modern speculation to point it out and to resolve it. 

The human soul, like all intellectual modes, is a modifi- 
cation of infinite thought, the human body a modification 
of infinite extension. Since the intellectual or ideal order 
and the real or corporeal order are parallel, every soul cor- 
responds to a body, and every body corresponds to an idea. 
The mind is therefore the conscious image of the body {idea 



corporis).^ Not that the mind is the body becoming con- 
scious of itself ; the body cannot be the conscious subject, 
for thought cannot come from extension, nor extension from 
thought. Spinoza, like Descartes, regards body as merely 
extended, and soul as merely thought. But the body is the 
object of thought or of soul, and there can be no thought, 
apperception, or soul, without a body. The mind does not 
know itself, it is not idea mentis except in so far as it is 
idea corporis or rather idea affectionum cor^iorisP- 

Sensation is a bodily phenomenon ; it is a prerogative of 
animal and human bodies, and results from the superior 
organization of these bodies. Perception, on the other 
hand, is a mental fact: simultaneously as the body is 
affected by an excitation the mind creates an image or idea 
of this excitation. The simultaneity of these two states is 
explained, as we have said, by the identity of the mental 
and bodily substance. The mind is always what the body 
is, and a well-formed soul necessarily corresponds to a well- 
organized brain.^ By the same law (the identity of the 
ideal and the real orders), intellectual development runs 
parallel with physical development. Bodily sensations are 
at first confused and uncertain ; to these confused modifi- 
cations of the imperfect organism correspond confused and 
inadequate ideas of the imagination^ the source of prejudice, 
illusion, and error : this makes us believe in general ideas 
existing independently of individuals, in final causes pre- 
siding over the creation of things, in incorporeal spirits, in 
a divinity with human form and human passions, in free- 
will and other idols.^ 

1 Eth., IL, Prop. 13. 

2 1(1.^ Prop. 23 : Mens seipsam non cognoscit nisi quatenus corporis 
affectionum ideas percipit. The reader will observe that Spinoza does not 
say : corporis affectiones, but rather : corporis affectionum ideas per- 
cipit ; so greatly is his psychology still influenced by Cartesian dualism. 

8 Eth., III., Prop. 2, Scholium. 

4 Eth., IL, Prop. 36; Prop. 40, Scholium; Prop. 48; TIL, Prop. 2, 


It is characteristic of reason to conceive adequate and 
perfect ideas, that is to say, snch as embrace both the ob- 
ject and its causes. The criterion of truth is truth ^^^^^^^^^^^ 
and the evidence peculiar to it. He who has a true idea, 
at the same time knows that he has a true idea, and cannot 
doubt it.i To the objection that fanaticism too is convinced 
of its truth and excludes uncertainty and doubt, Spinoza 
answers that the absence of doubt is not, as yet, positive 
certainty. Truth is true in itself ; it does not depend on 
any argument for its truth ; if it did, it would be subject to 
that; it is its own standard. Even as light reveals both 
itself and darkness, so is truth the criterion both of itself 
and of error.2 

The imagination represents things as they are in relation 
to us ; reason conceives them from the standpoint of the 
whole in which they are produced, and in their relation to 
the universe. The imagination makes man the centre of 
the world, and what is human the measure of all things : 
reason rises beyond the self ; it contemplates the universal 
and eternal, and refers all things to God. All ideas are true 
in so far as they are referred to God,^ that is, whose objects 
are conceived as modes of the infinite Being. It is also 
characteristic of reason that it rejects the notion of con- 
tingency, and conceives the concatenation of things as 
necessary. The idea of contingency, like so many other 
inadequate ideas, is a product of the imagination, and is 
entertained by such as are ignorant of the real causes and 
the necessary connection of facts. Necessity is the first 
postulate of reason, the watchword of true science.* The 
imagination loses itself in the details of phenomena ; reason 
grasps their unity ; unity and consubstantiality, — that is 
the second postulate of reason. Finally, it rejects, as pro- 

1 Etl., XL, Prop. 43. 
8 Id., IL, Prop. 32. 


2 Id., IL, Scholium. 
4 Id., I., Prop. 29. 



ducts of the imagination, final causes and universals con- 
sidered as realities. 

The only universal that really exists and is at the same 
time the highest object of reason, is God, or the infinite and 
necessary substance of which everything else is but an acci- 
dent. According to Spinoza, reason can form an adequate 
idea of him, but not the imagination. ^ 

The will or active faculty is not essentially different 
from the understanding.^ It is nothing but a tendency of 
reason to retain ideas agreeable to it, and to reject such as 
are distasteful. A volition is an idea that affirms or negates 

Will and intellect being identical in their essence, it fol- 
lows that the development of the one runs parallel with 
that of the other. Corresponding to the imagination, 
which represents things according to our impressions, Ave 
have, in the practical sphere, passion, or the instinctive 
movement which impels us towards an object or makes us 
shrink from it. When what the imagination shows us, is 
of such a nature as to give our physical and moral life a 
greater intensity ; or, in other words, when a thing is agree- 
able and we strive for it, this wholly elementary form of 
willing is called desire, love, joy, or pleasure. In the oppo- 
site case, it is called aversion, hatred, fear, or grief. 

To the higher understanding corresponds, in the prac- 
tical sphere, the will proper, that is, the will enlight- 
ened by reason, and determined, not by what is agreeable, 
but by what is true. Not until it reaches this stage 
can the will, which is quite passive in the state of 
instinct, be called an active faculty. We act, in the 
philosophical sense, when anything happens either within 
us or outside of us, of which we are the adequate cause 

1 Eth., IT., Prop. 47 and Scholium. 

2 Id., II., Prop. 49, Corollary : Voluntas et intellectus utium et idem 



(adcequata), that is, when anything follows from our nature 
within us or outside of us, which can be clearly and dis- 
tinctly understood through our nature alone. On the 
other hand, we are passive when something happens within 
us or follows from our nature, of which we are but the 
partial cause. ^ To be passive or to be acted upon does not, 
therefore, mean not to act at all, but to be limited in one's 
activity. We are passive in so far as Ave are a part of the 
universe, or modes of the divine being. God or the uni- 
verse, by the very fact that he is unlimited, cannot be 
passive. He is pure action, absolute activity. 

However active man may seem in his passions, he is 
really passive in the proper and primary sense of the term : 
i. e., limited, impotent, or the slave of things. He can be 
made free and become active only through the understand- 
ing. To understand the universe is to be delivered from 
it. To understand everything is to be absolutely free. 
Passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear 
idea of it.^ Hence, freedom is found in thought and in 
thought alone. Thought, too, is relatively passive in so 
far as it is limited by the imagination, but it can free 
itself from this yoke by sustained application and persistent 
effort. Since freedom is found only in thought, our knowl- 
edge of things is the measure of our morality. That is 
morally good which is conducive to the understanding ; ( 
that is bad which hinders and diminishes it.^ 

Virtue is the power of the understanding ; or, still better, 
it is man's nature in so far as this has the power of pro- 
ducing certain effects which can be explained by the laws 
of that nature alone.* To be virtuous is to be strong, or 
to act ; to be vicious is to be weak, or passive. From this 
point of view, not only hatred, anger, and envy, but also 

1 Eth., III., Def. 2. 2 jj^^ iii ^ Prop. 59; V., Prop. 3. 

^ Eth., IV., Props. 26 and 27. Cf. § U. 
* Id., IV., Def. 8. 



fear, hope, and even pity and repentance, must be reckoned 
among the vices. Hope is accompanied by a feeling of 
fear, pity and sympathy, by a feeling of pain, that is to 
say, by a diminution of our being, by a weakening of our 
energy. Repentance is doubly bad ; for he who regrets is 
weak and is conscious of his weakness. The man who 
orders his life according to the dictates of reason will 
therefore labor with all his might to rise above pity and 
vain regrets. He will help his neighbor as well as im- 
prove himself, but he will do it in the name of reason. 
Thus will he be truly active, truly brave, and truly virtu- 
ous (in the original sense of the Latin word). He will be 
brave, for he will not let himself be conquered either by 
human miseries or his own mistakes, and he will not let 
himself be vanquished, because he knows that all things 
follow from the necessity of God's nature. 

For the philosopher, who is convinced of the necessity 
of human actions, nothing merits hatred, derision, con- 
tempt, or pity.^ From his absolute standpoint of reason, 
even the crimes of a Nero are neither good nor bad, but 
simply necessary acts. Determinism makes the philoso- 
pher optimistic, and raises him, by gradual stages of per- 
fection, to that disinterested love of nature which gives 
everything its value in the whole of things, to that amor 
iiitellectualis De% or philosophical love of nature, which is 
the summit of virtue. This sentiment differs essentially 
from the love of God of positive religions. The latter has 
for its object a fictitious being, and corresponds to the ele- 
mentary stage of understanding called opinion or imagina- 
tion. Since the God of the imagination is an individual, a 
person like ourselves, and like every living and real per- 
son, possesses feelings of love, anger, and jealousy, our 
love for him is a particularistic feeling, a mixture of love 
and fear, of happiness and restless jealousy ; and the hap- 

1 IVactalus politicus, I., 4. 



piness which it procures for us is still far removed from 
the perfect blessedness to wliich Ave aspire. 

The pliilosophical love of God, on the other hand, is an 
absolutely disinterested feeling ; its object is not an indi- 
vidual who acts arbitrarily and from whom we expect 
favors, but a being superior to love and to hate. This God 
does not love like men ; for to love is to feel pleasure, and 
to feel pleasure is to pass from less to greater perfection ; 
now the intinitely perfect being cannot be augmented.^ 
Hatred likewise is foreign to him, since to hate is to be 
passive, and to be passive is to be diminished in one's 
being, which cannot be the case with God. Conversely, 
the hatred which some men entertain towards God, and 
their complaints against him, are possible only from the 
standpoint of the imagination, which conceives God as a 
person acting arbitrarily. We hate persons only ; we can- 
not therefore really hate God, conceived as the necessary 
order of tilings, as the eternal and involuntary cause of 
everything that exists. The philosopher cannot help lov- 
ing God ; at least, he cannot but feel perfectly contented, 
peaceful, and resigned in contemplating him. This com- 
plete acquiescence of the thinker in the supreme law, this 
reconciliation of the soul with the necessities of life, this 
entire devotion to the nature of things, — is what Spinoza, 
by accommodation, without doubt, calls the intellectual 
love of God,2 the source of eternal happiness. 

In this peculiar feeling, the difference between God and 
the soul, or substance and mode, is obliterated; the loved 
object becomes the loving subject, and conversely. The 
intellectual love of man towards God is identical with the 
love of God towards himself.^ Owing to this " trans- 
formation of natures," the human soul, which is perishable 
in so far as its functions are connected with the life of the 

1 Eth., v., Prop. 17. 2 1,1^ Y., Prop. 32, Corollary. 

3 Id., v., Prop. 36. 



body,^ is immortal in its divine part, the intellect. By the 
immortality of the soul we mean, not so much the infinite 
duration of the person ^ as the consciousness that its sub- 
stance is eternal. The certainty that the substance of our 
personality is imperishable, because it is God, banishes 
from the soul of the philosopher all fear of death, and fills 
him with an unmixed joy. 

Let us sum up. Substance is that which exists by itself 
and by itself alone. Hence neither bodies nor minds can 
be called substances ; for both exist by virtue of the divine 
activity. God alone exists by himself and by himself alone : 
hence there is but one absolutely infinite substance. This 
substance or God has two relatively infinite attributes : 
extension and thought. Extension is modified, and forms 
bodies ; thought is infinitely diversified, and forms minds. 
Such is the metaphysics of Spinoza. Necessity and joyful 
resignation : these two words sum up his ethical teachings. 

We have shown in what respect Spinozism advances be- 
yond the Cartesian philosophy. By making mind and mat- 
ter, soul and body, manifestations of a common principle, it 
destroys the dualism of a physical universe, absolutely di- 
vested of all ideal content, and an exclusively intellectual 
order of things, a world of abstract, incorporeal entities, 
which are as different from the real cosmos as the latter is 
supposed to be from the realm of pure thought. The uni- 
verse is one. True, it contains two elements that are eter- 
nally distinct and cannot be explained in terms of each other: 
matter and thought ; but these two elements, although dis- 
tinct, are inseparable because they are not substances, but 
attributes of one and the same substance. Every movement, 
or, in other words, every modification of infinite extension, 
has an idea, i. e., a modification of infinite thought, corre- 
sponding to it ; and vice versa : every idea has as its necessary 
accompaniment a corresponding fact in the physiological 

1 Eth., v., Prop. 21. 2 7^.^ y,^ p^op. 34, Scholium. 



order. Thought is not without matter, nor matter without 
tliought. Spinozism points out the intimate correlation be- 
tween the two elements of being, but guards against iden- 
tifying them, as materialism and idealism do, from opposite 
points of view. 

But this gain is counterbalanced by a difficulty which 
seems to make for Cartesian dualism. Spinoza holds that 
one and the same thing (substance) is both e.itended and 
thinking, that is, inextended ; hence, he flagrantly violates 
the law of contradiction. True, he anticipates this objec- 
tion by declaring, in opposition to Descartes, that corporeal 
substance is no more divisible^ in so far as it is substance, 
than spiritual substance ; ^ and so prepares the way for the 
Leibnizian solution. But, on the other hand, he goes right 
on calling corporeal substance extended {res extensa)? Now, 
indivisible extension is a contradiction in terms. 

It was left to Leibniz to prove that there is nothing con- 
tradictory in the assumption that one and the same thing 
can be both the principle of thought and the principle of 
corporeal existence. He proclaimed the truth which is now 
accepted as a fundamental principle in physics, that the 
essence of matter does not consist in extension, but in foru^ ' 
and thereby turned the scales in favor of concrete spiritual- 
ism. It is a contradiction to hold that the same thing is 
both extended and inextended ; it is not a contradiction to 
say that the same thing is force and thought, perception 
and tendency. 

§ 56. Leibniz 

The life of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, like his doc- 
trine, forms the counterpart of Spinoza's. The illustrious 
Jew of Amsterdam was poor, neglected, and persecuted even 

1 Eth., I., Prop. 13, Corollary: Ex his sequitur nullam substantiam et 
consequenter nullam substantiam corpoream, quatenus substantia est, esse 

2 Id., IT., Prop. 2. 



to his dying day, while Leibniz knew only the bright side 
of life. Most liberally endowed with all the gifts of nature 
and of fortune, and as eager for titles and honors as for 
knowledge and truth, he had a brilliant career as a jurist, 
diplomat, and univei'sal savant. His remarkable success is 
reflected in the motto of his theodicy : Evcrytlmig is for the 
best in the best of possible tvorlds. He was born at Leipsic in 
1646, and died on the 14th of November, 1716, as Librarian 
and Court Counsellor of the Duke of Hanover, Privy Coun- 
.sellor, Imperial Baron, etc., etc. 

His principal philosophical writings are: Meditationes de 
cognitione, veritate et ideis (1684); Lettres sur la question si 
r essence du corps consiste dans Vetendue (in the Journal des 
savants^ 1691) ; Nouveaux essais sur Ve7itendcment humain 
(in rejDly to Locke's Essay) ; Essais de Theodicee sur la bonte 
de Dieu, la liberte de Vhomme et Vorigine du mal (1710), dedi- 
cated to Queen Sophia Charlotte of Prussia ; La monado- 
logie (1714) ; Principcs de la nature et de la grace, fondes en 
raison (1714) ; finally, his Correspondence,'^ 

1 His writings, most of which are brief, have been collected and 
edited by Raspe (Amsterdam and Leipsic, 1765) ; Louis Dutens (Ge- 
neva, 1768) ; J. E. Erdmann, Berlin, 1840; Foucher de Careil ((Enures 
de Leibniz, published for the first time after the original manuscripts, 
Paris, 1859 ff.) ; Paul Janet (2 vols., Paris, 1866, with the correspond- 
ence of Leibniz and Arnauld); [C. J. Gerhardt, Philosophical writings 
of Leibniz, 7 vols., Berlin, 1875-90. German writings ed. by G. E. 
Guhrauer, Berlin, 1838-40. Engl, translation of important philosophi- 
cal writings by G. M. Duncan, New Haven, 1890; of the New Essays, 
« by A. G. Langley, London and New York, 1893]. [G. E. Guhrauer, 
G. W, Freih. v. Leibniz, 2 vols., Breslau, 1842, 1846; Engl, by Mackie, 
Boston, 1845 ; Ludwig Feuerbach, Darstellung, Entwickehmg und Kritik 
der leibnizschen PhilosopJiie, Ansbach, 1837 ; 2d ed., 1844]; Nourrisson, 
Laphilosophie de Leibniz, Paris, 1860 ; [J. T. Merz, Leibniz(m Blackwood's 
Philosophical Classics), London, 1884 ; J. Dewey, Leibniz's New Essays 
concerning the Human Understanding (Griggs's Philosophical Classics), 
Chicago, 1888 ; E. Dillmann, Eitie neue Darstellung der leibnizschen 
Monadenlehre, Leipsic, 1891.] For the Leibnizian doctrine of matter 



Leibniz opposes to the dualism of extended or unconsci- 
ous substance and inextended or conscious substance his 
theory of monads or inextended and more or less conscious 
substances. It seems that he derived the expression and the 
conception from Bruno's De monade and De trvplici minimo ^ 

Both the physical and mental realms contain a series 
of phenomena which do not depend exclusively either on 
thought or on extension. If the mind is conscious thought 
and nothing but that, how shall we explain the countless^ 
minute perceptions (^perceptions petiles~) ^ which baffle all ana- 
lysis, those vague and confused feelings which cannot be 
classified, in short, everything in the soul of which we are 
not conscious ? ^ The soul has states during which its per- 
ceptions are not distinct, as in a profound, dreamless sleep, 
or in a swoon. During these states tlie soul either does not 
exist at all, or it exists in a manner analogous to the body, 
that is, without consciousness of self. Hence there is in 
the soul something otlier than conscious thought : it con- 
tains an unconscious element, which forms a connecting 
link between the soul and the physical world.* 

and monads see Hartenstein, Cominentatio de matericB apud Leibnizium 
notione, Leipsic, 1846 ; for his theodicy, J. Bonifas, Etude sur la The'o- 
dicee de Leibniz, Paris, 1863 ; for his doctrine of pre-established har- 
mony, Hugo Sommer, De doctrina quam de harm, praest. L. proposidt, 
Gottingen, 1864; etc., etc. [Cf. also: Foucher de Careil, Leibniz, 
Descartes et Spinoza, Paris, 1863 ; E. Pfleiderer, Leibniz und Geulincx, 
Tiibingen, 1884 ; L. Stein, Leibniz und Spinoza, Berlin, 1890 ; G. Har- 
tenstein, Locke's Lelire von der menscklichen Erkenntniss in Vergleidiung 
mil Leibniz's Kritik derselben, Leipsic, 1864 ; Frank Thilly, Leibnizens 
Streit gegen Locke in Ansehung der angeborenen Ideen, Heidelberg, 1891 ; 
and especially K. Fischer's History of Philosophy. — Tr.] 

1 [According to L. Stein {Leibniz und Spinoza), from F. Merciirius 
van Helmont. — Tr.] 

2 Nouveaux Essais, Preface. ^ Monadologie, § 14. 
Nouveaux Essais, Book II., ch. IX. and XIX. ; Principes de la na* 

ture et de la grace, § 4. 


Moreover, what are attraction, repulsion, heat, and light, 
if matter is inert extension, and nothing Int that ? Cartesi- 
anism can neither deny nor explain these facts. Consist- 
ency demands that it boldly deny, on the one hand, the 
existence of order and life in the corporeal world, on the 
other, the presence in the soul of all ideas, sensations, and 
volitions which temporarily sink below the threshold of 
consciousness and attention, and reappear at the slightest 
inner or outer solicitation. It must unhesitatingly affirm 
that there is nothing inextended in the material world, and 
nothing unconscious in the spiritual world. But that would 
be to fly in the face of facts, and to assert an absurdity. No ; 
extension, as the Cartesians conceive it, cannot of itself ex- 
plain sensible phenomena. It is synonymous with passivity, 
inertia, and death, while everything in nature is action, 
movement, and life. Hence, unless we propose to explain 
life by death, and being by non-being, we must of necessity 
suppose that the essence of body consists of something dif- 
ferent from extension. 

And, indeed, does not the state of extension, which con- 
stitutes the nature of body, presuppose an effort or force 
that extends itself, a power both of resistance and expan- 
sion? Matter is essentially resistance, and resistance 
means activity. Behind the (extended) state there is the 
act which constantly produces it, renews it (extension). A 
large body moves with more difficulty than a small body ; 
this is because the larger body has greater power of resist- 
ance. What seems to be inertia, or a lack of power, is in 
reality more intense action, a more considerable effort. 
Hence, the essence of corporeality is not extension, but the 
force of extension, or active force. ^ Cartesian physics deals 
with inert masses and lifeless bodies only, and is therefore 
identical with mechanics and geometry ; but nature can be 

1 Let.tre sur la question de savoir si Vessence du corps consists dans 
Vetendue (ed, Errlmann, p. 113). 



explained only by a metaphysical notion that is higher than 
a purely mathematical and mechanical notion; and even 
the principles of mechanics, that is, the first laws of mo- 
tion, have a higher origin than that of pure mathematics.^ 
This higher notion is the idea of Force. It is this power 
of resistance that constitutes the essence of matter. As to 
extension, it is nothing but an abstraction ; it presupposes 
something that is extended, expanded, and continued. Ex- 
tension is the diffusion of this " something." Milk, for 
example, is an extension or diffusion of whiteness ; the 
diamond, an extension or diffusion of hardness ; body in 
general, the extension of materiality. Hence, it is plain 
that there is something in the body anterior to extension ^ 
(the force of extension). True metaphysics does not recog- 
nize the useless and inactive masses of which the Car- 
tesians speak. There is action everywhere. No hody 
without movement, no sid}stance without effoi^t.^ 

Only the effects of force are perceptible ; in itself it is 
an insensible and immaterial thing. Now force constitutes 
the essence of matter; hence matter is in reality imma- 
terial in its essence. This paradox, which is also found in 
Leibniz, Bruno, and Plotinus, in principle overcomes the 
dualism of the physical and mental worlds. Though force 
forms the essence of that which is extended, it is itself 
inextended ; it is therefore indivisible and simple ; it is 
original ; for composite things alone are derived and have 
become what they are ; finally, it is indestructible, for a 
simple substance cannot be decomposed. A miracle alone 
could destroy it. 

Thus far Leibniz speaks of force as Spinoza speaks of 

^ Lettre sur la question de savoir si V essence du corps consiste dans 
Vetendue (ed. Erdmann, p. 113). 

2 Examen des principes de Malehvanclie (Erdmann, p. 692). 

^ Eclaircissement du nouveau systeme de la communication des sub- 
stances, p. 132. 



substance, and there seems to be merely a verbal difference 
between him and his predecessor. But here their paths 
diverge. Spinoza's " substance " is infinite and unique ; 
Leibniz's " force " is neither one nor the other. If there 
were but one single substance in the world, this one 
substance would also be the only force ; it alone would be 
able to act by itself, and everything else would be inert, 
powerless, passive, or rather, would not exist at all. Now, 
the reverse is actually true. We find that minds act by 
themselves, with the consciousness of their individual 
responsibility ; we likewise find that every body resists all 
other bodies, and consequently constitutes a separate force. 
Shall we say, in favor of Spinozisni, that the indwelling 
forces of things are so many parts of the one force ? But 
that cannot be, since force is essentially indivisible. By 
denying the infinite diversity of individual forces, the 
abstract monism of Spinoza reverses the very nature of tJmigs^ 
and becomes a peimicious doctrine} Where there is action 
there is active force ; now there is action in all things ; 
each constitutes a separate centre of activity ; hence there 
are as many simple, indivisible, and original forces as there 
are things. 

These original forces or monads may be compared to 
physical points or to mathematical points ; but they differ 
from the former in tliat they have no extension, and from 
the latter, in that they are objective realities. Leibniz 
calls them metaphysical points or points of substance ^ (they 
are both exact, like mathematical points, and real, like 
physical points), formal p)oints, formal atoms, substantial 
forms (in scholastic language), to indicate that each con- 
stitutes an individual, independent of all the otlier monads, 
acting of itself and depending only on itself in form, 
character, and entire mode of life. 

1 De ipsa natura, sive de vi insita actionibusque creaturarum, § 8 
Cf. Lettre II. a M. Bourgur.i. 

2 Nouveau systeme de la nature, § 11. 



Whatever happens in the monad comes from it alone ; 
no external cause can produce modifications in it. Since 
it is endowed with spontaneous activity, and receives no 
influence from without, it differs from all other monads, 
and differs from them forever. It cannot be identified with 
anything ; it eternally remains what it is (principium dis- 
tinctionis). It has no winclovjs hy which anything can enter 
or pass out.^ Since each monad differs from and excludes 
all the rest, it is " like a separate world, self-sufficient, 
independent of every other creature, embracing the infinite, 
expressing the universe." It follows that two individual 
things cannot be perfectly alike in the world. 

But here a serious objection arises. If each monad con- 
stitutes a separate world, independent of all other beings ; 
if none has " windows " by which anything can enter or 
depart; if there is not the slightest reciprocal action be- 
tween individuals, — what becomes of the universe and its 
unity ? Spinoza sacrificed the reality of individuals to the 
principle of unity ; does not Leibniz go to the other ex- 
treme? Are there not, according to his assumption, as 
many universes as there are atoms ? This difficulty, which 
necessarily confronts all atomistic theories, Leibniz circum- 
vents rather than solves. He has broken up, shattered, 
and pulverized the monolithic universe of Spinoza : how will 
he be able to cement these infinitesimal fragments together 
again, to reconstruct the ev /cal irdv? 

He finds the synthetic principle in the analogy of monads 
and in the notion of pre-estahlished harmony. Though each 
monad differs from all the rest, there is an analogy and a 
family resemblance, so to speak, between them. They 
resemble each other in that all are endowed with percep- 

^ Monadologie, § 7. 

2 Nouveau systeme de la nature, § 16. [I have in many instances 
used Duncan's translations, making such changes as I deemed proper. 



t'ion and desire or ajjpetition^ — Schopenhauer would say, 
will. Those on the lower stages in the scale of things, as 
well as the highest and most perfect monads, are forces, 
entelechies, and souls} Souls alone exists and that which 
we call extension or body is nothing but a confused per- 
ception, a phenomenon, a sensible manifestation of effort, 
that is to say, of the immaterial. Thus the dualism of 
soulless matter and deiiaturized mind is forever overcome. 
" Whatever there is of good in the hypotheses of Epicurus 
and of Plato, of the greatest materialists and the greatest 
idealists, is here combined." ^ Matter signifies a relation, a 
negative relation; it does not express a mode of the 
monad's positive being, as the negative expression impeyie- 
trahle very well indicates ; thought (perception) and tend- 
ency (appetition) are positive attributes, permanent modes 
of being, not only of the higher monads but of all without 
exception. Leibniz emphatically maintains that perception 
is universal,^ and answers the objection that beings inferior 
to man do not thinJc^ by the statement that "there are 
infinite degrees of perception, and perception is not neces- 
sarily sensation." ^ The more the Cartesians persisted in 
denying all analogy between human thought and the mental 
phenomena in animals, the more he inclined towards this 
paradoxical conception. The perceptions of lower beings 
are infinitely minute, confused, and unconscious ; those of 
man are clear and conscious : that is the entire difference 
between soul and mind^ perception and apperception. 

The perceptions of the monad do not, it is true, extend 
beyond itself. Having no "windows by which anything 
can enter or depart," it can only perceive itself. We our- 

1 Monadologie, §§ 19, 66, 82. 

2 Re'plique aux reflexions de Bayle, p. 186. 

^ Ad Des Bosses Epist. HI. : Necesse est omnes entelechias sive 
monades perceptione prceditas esse. 
* Leltre <X M. des Maizeaux. 



selves, the higher monads, do not perceive anything except 
our OAvn being, and that alone we know immediately. The 
real world is wholly inaccessible to us, and the so-called 
world is merely the involuntary projection of what takes 
place within ourselves. If, notwithstanding, we know 
what takes place outside of us, if we have an (indirect) per- 
ception of the external world, it is because we are, like all 
monads, representatives of the universe, and because, con- 
sequently, that which takes place in us is the reproduction 
in miniature of that wliich takes place on the large scale in 
the macrocosm. Since the monad directly perceives itself 
alone and its own contents, it follows that the more ade- 
quate an image it is itself, the more complete will its per- 
ception of the universe be. Tlie better a monad represents 
the universe, the better it represents ilsclf. If the human 
soul has a clear and distinct idea of the world, it is because 
it is a more exact and more faithful image {idea) of the 
universe than the soul of the animal and the soul of the 

All monads represent and perceive, or, in a word, repro- 
duce the universe, but they reproduce it in different degrees, 
and each in its own way. In other terms, there is a grada- 
tion in the perfection of the monads. In the hierarchy thus 
formed, the most perfect monads rule, the less perfect ones 
obey. Accordingly, we must distinguish between physical 
individuals, such as nature offers, and the metaphysical in- 
dividuals or monads composing them. A plant or an animal 
is not a monad and individual in the metaphysical sense, 
but a combination of monads, of which one rules and the 
others obey. The central monad is what is called the soul 
of the plant, animal, or man; the subordinate monads 
grouped around it form what we call body. " Each living 

1 Replique aux reflexions de Bayle, p. 184 ; Monadologie, §§ 56-62 ; 
Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 3. 



being," as Leibniz expressly states,^ " has a ruling entel- 
echy, which is the soul in the animal, but the members of 
this living body are full of other living beings, — plants, 
animals, — each of which has also its entelechy or govern- 
ing soul." " Each monad," he also says,^ is a mirror of 
the universe, from its point of view, and accompanied by a 
multitude of other monads composing its organic body, of 
which it is the ruling monad." ^ 

However, by virtue of the autonomy of the monads, this 
dominating influence of the central monad is purely ideal ; 
the latter does not really act upon the governed monads.* 
The obedience of the governed monads is, in turn, quite 
spontaneous. They do not subordinate themselves to the 
ruling monad because this forces them to do so, but because 
their own nature compels them to do it.^ In the formation of 
organisms, the lower monads group themselves around the 
more perfect monads, which, in turn, spontaneously group 
themselves around the central monad. This process might 
be compared to the construction of a temple in which the 
columns spontaneously put themselves in the desired place, 
with the capital pointing upwards and the pedestal at the 
bottom. An inorganic body, a rock, or a liquid mass is 
likewise an aggregation of monads, but without a ruling 
monad. Such bodies are not inanimate ; for each of the 
monads composing them is both soul and body ; but they 
seem inanimate because their constitutive monads, being 
of like nature, do not obey a governing monad, but hold 
themselves in equilibrium, so to speak. 

After these preliminaries, we expect Leibniz to solve the 

1 Monadologie, § 70. ^ i^etlre a M. Dangicourf, p. 746. 

^ Extrait (Vune lettre a M. Dangicow't, p. 746 ; Monadologie, § 70. 
* Monadologie, § 51. 

^ Ad Des Bosses EpisL XXX. : Substantia agit qnantum potest, nisi 
impediatur : impeditur autem etiam substantia simplex, sed naturaliter nan 
nisi intus a se ipsa. 



problem of the reciprocal action of soul and body in the 
simplest and easiest manner. <^ Thought and extension are 
not substances which repel and exclude each other, but dif- 
ferent attributes of one and the same substance. Hence, 
nothing seems more natural than to assume a direct con- 
nection between intellectual phenomena and the facts of 
the physiological worl d!) That is not t he_ ca^e3,Jiow^ 
and the metaphysics of Leibniz ft^ powerless as 

Cartesianisn. before this important problem./ The connec- 
tion just mentioned would be perfectly apparent if the 
human individual were a single monad, having as its im- 
material essence the soul, and as its sensible manifestation, 
the body. If by body we meant the material element in- 
hering in the central monad (for it must be remembered 
that each monad, and consequently also the central monad 
or the liighest soul, is both soul and body), nothing would 
be more proper than to speak of a mutual action between 
soul and body. But, as we have just shown, the physical 
individual is not an isolated monad, but a central monad 
surrounded by other monads, and it is the latter, or this 
gr oup of subordinate souls, which, strictly speaking, con- 
stitute the body of the individual. Now, the monads have 
no windows ; within one and the same monad, the ruling 
monad, for example, there may and must be a causal rela- 
tion between its successive states ; such a relation, how- 
ever, is impossible between two different monads. 

Hence a real and direct action of the dominant monad ] 
upon the subordinate monad, or of soul upon body, is as I 
impossible in Leibniz's system as in that of Descartes. ! 
This action is merely apparent. In sen sation the soul 
seems to suffer the influence of the body, and the parts of 
the body, in turn, move as though their movements were 
determined by the volitions of the soul. As a matter of 
fact, neither one nor the other is affected by something ex- 
ternal to it. No soul state, no volition, for example, can 




" penetrate " the monads constituting the body ; hence the 
soul does not act directly upon the body ; our arms are not 
moved by an act of will. Nothing in the body can " pene- 
trate " the dominant monad : hence, no impressions enter 
the soul through the senses, but all our ideas are innate. 
Body and soul seem to act on each other ; the former moves 
when the latter wills it, the latter perceives and conceives 
when the former receives a physical imj)ression, and this is 
due to a 2}!^^- established harmony^ owing to which the monads 
constituting the body and the ruling monad necessarily 
agree, just as two perfectly regulated clocks always show 
the same time.^ 

The theory of pre-established harmony differs from the 
occasionalistic system in an important point. The latter 
assumes a special divine intervention every time the soul 
and the physical organism are to agree. God regulates the 
soul by the body or the body by the volitions of the soul, as 
a watchmaker constantly regulates one clock by the other. 
According to Leibniz, the harmony between the movements 
of the body and the states of the soul is the effect of the 
Creator's perfect work, as the perpetual agreement between 
two well-constructed watches results from the skill of the 
mechanic who has constructed them. Those who assume 
that the Creator constantly intervenes in his work, regard 
God as an unskilful watchmaker, who cannot make a per- 
fect machine, but must continually repair what he has 
made. Not only does God not intervene at every moment, 
but he never intervenes. " Mr. Newton and his followers," 
says Leibniz,2 " have a curious opinion of God and his work. 
According to them, God must wind up his watch from time 
to time ; otherwise it would cease to move. He had not 
sufficient insight to make it run forever. Nay, God s 

1 Second eclaircissement du systeme de la communication des substances, 
pp. 133-134. 

« Lettre d Clarke, p. 746. 



macliine is so imperfect, according to them, that he is 
obliged to clean it, from time to time, by an extraordinary 
concourse, and even to repair it as a watchmaker repairs 
his work ; the oftener he is obliged to mend it and to set it 
right, the poorer a mechanic he is." . . . "According to 
my system, bodies act as if there were no souls, and souls 
act as if there were no bodies, and both act as if each influ- 
enced the other." ^ 

Perhaps,^ from the theological point of view, Leibniz's 
theory of pre-established harmony is preferable to the hy- 
pothesis of the assistance or perpetual concourse of God, 
but it does not satisfy the curiosity of the philosopher any 
more than does the Cartesian theory. To say that body and 
soul agree in their respective states by virtue of a pre-estab- 
lished harmony is to say that a thing is because it is. Leib- 
nizuliaiLcealsMs ignorance behind a science that rises above 
all the theories of the past. When we consider how ex- 
travagantly Leibniz's friends and Leibniz himself eulogized j 
his system, we hardly know what to wonder at most, the / 
delusion of our philosopher or the simplicity of his ady 

We have found, with Leibniz, that rnonads refl ect the 
universe in different degrees ; that some monads reflect it 
better than others. This pre-supposes the existence of a 
lowest monad, which reproduces the universe in the most 
elementary manner possible, and a highest monad, which 
expresses it in a perfect manner : a positive and a superla- 
tive. Between these two extremes we have an infinite 

1 Monadologie, § 81. 

2 We say perhaps ; for the objection may be urged against Leibniz 
that the perpetual miracle of the Cartesians is not a miracle in the 
sense that the natural course of things is violently interrupted, and 
that it is not a miracle precisely because it is perpetual. From this 
point of view, pre-established harmony, a miracle performed once for 
all, at the beginning of things, is a conception philosophically inferior 
to the Cartesian hypothesis. 



chain of intermediate monads. Each intermediate monad 
forms a different pointy and, consequently, a different ;point 
of view^ on the line connecting the extremes ; each, as such, 
differs from all the rest. But the monads are infinite in 
number. Hence we have on the ideal line between the 
lowest and the highest monad, i. e., on a line that is limited 
on all sides and is not infinite^ an infinity of different points 
of view. From this it follows that the distances separating 
these points of view are infinitely small, that the difference 
between two^adjacer^^ (discrimen 

The 'principle of continuity^ removes the gaps which 
are supposed to exist between the mineral and vegeta- 
ble kingdoms, and the vegetable and animal Idngdoms.^ 
There are no gaps, no absolutejop]3osjj:m in nature ; rest 
is an infinitely minute movement ; darkness, infinitely 
little light; the parabola, an ellipse one of whose foci is 
infinitely distant ; perception in the^ plant, an infin itely con- 
fused thought.^ This conception bridges the chasm which 
the Cartesians made between brutes and man. Brutes are 
merely imperfect men, plants imperfect animals. Leibniz 
does not, however, regard man as a product of evolution. 
Far from it. Each monad remains eternally what it is, and 
the soul of the plant cannot therefore be transformed into 
an animal soul, nor an animal soul into a human soul. But 
his doctrine of the pre-existence of monads, and his teach- 
ing that they develop indefinitely, logically culminate in 
the theory of transformation. " I recognize," he writes * 
to Des Maizeaux,^ " that not only the souls of brutes, but 
all monads or simple substances from which the composite 
phenomena are derived are as old as the world ; " and a 

1 Theodicee, § 348. 2 i^ffre IV. d, M. Bourgu^t. 

* Nouveaux essais, Preface. •* Erdmann's edition, p. 076. 

^ The biographer of Bayle and editor of his Dictionnaire historique 
et critique. 



few lines above he says : " I believe that the souls of men 
have pre-existed, not as reasonahle souls hut as merely sensi- 
tive souls^ which did not reach the superior stage of reason 
until the man whom the soul was to animate was conceived." 
The view that man pre-existed in the animal could not be 
stated with greater clearness. It even seems as though 
Leibniz's " souls " pre-exist in the inorganic world, like so 
many germs. In its state of pre-existence, he says, in sub- 
stance, the monad which is to become a soul is absolutely 
naked^'^ or without a body; that is to say, it is not sur- 
rounded by that group of subordinate monads which will 
form its organs, and, consequently, exists in a kind of un- 
conscious state. Hence, the monads destined to become 
either animal or human souls wholly resemble inanimate 
bodies, from the beginning of the world until they are in- 

The passage of the monads into bodies (incarnation) can- 
not be conceived as a metempsychosis or a metasomatosis, 
if we mean by these two terms the introduction of the soul 
into a body formed without its assistance. Nor can future 
life be considered in such a light. By virtue of the law of 
pre-established harmony, the development of the soul runs 
j^allel with that of the body, and although there is iio real 
and immediate communion between the central monad and 
the subordinate monads constituting its body, there is an 
ideal correlation between the latter and the soul. With the 
reservation made above,^ it is correct to call the soul the 
architect of the body. A soul cannot give itself any body 
whatsoever, nor can any body serve as its organ.^ Each 
soul has its body. But though there is no metem]3sychosis, 
i. e., no passage of souls into bodies already formed, there 

1 Monadologie, § 24. 

2 p. 352. 

8 This expression can only be used in a fignrative sense by Leibniz 
for there is no actual relation between body and soul. 



is inetamoiyliosis^ and perpetual metamorphosis.^ The soul 
changes its body only gradually and by degrees. ^ Owing 
to the principle of continuity, nature never makes leaps, 
but there are insensible transitions everywhere and in 

Future life cannot be incorporeal. Human souls and 
all other souls are never without bodies ; God alone, being 
pure action, is wholly without body. Since the central 
monad is " primitive " like all monads, it cannot be created 
ex nihilo upon its entrance into actual life, nor annihilated 
at its departure. " What we call generation is development 
or increase ; what we call death is envelopment and dim- 
inution. Strictly speaking, there is neither generation nor 
death, and it may be said, that not only is the soul inde- 
structible, but also the animal itself, although its machine 
is often partially destroyed." ^ As regards rational souls, 
it may be assumed that they will pass " to a grander scene 
of action " at the close of their present life. Moreover, their 
immortality is not the result of a particular divine favor or 
a privilege of human nature, but a metaphysical necessity, 
a universal phenomenon embracing all the realms of nature. 
Just as each monad is as old as the world, so, too, each one 
" is as durable, as stable, and as absolute as the universe of 
creatures itself."^ The plant and the grub are no less 
eternal than man, the angels, and the archangels.^ Death 
is but a turning-point in the eternal life, a stage in the 
never-ending development of the monad. 

1 Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 6. 

2 Monadologie, § 72. » Id., §§ 73, 77. 
* Nouveau sijsteme de la nature, § 16. 

^ Ad Wagnerum, p. 467 : Qui hrutis animas, aliisque materice partibus 
omnem perceptionem et organismuni negant, illi divinam majestatem nan 
satis agnoscunt, introducentes aliquid indignum Deo et incultum, nempe 
vacuum m.etapJiysicum . . . Qui vero animas veras perceptionem que dant 
hrutis, et tamen animas eorum naturaliter perire posse siaiuunf, etiam de- 
monstrationem nobis tollunt, per quam ostenditur mentes nostras naturaliter 
perire non posse. 



In the system of Leibniz we again find Spinoza's ex- 
tended and thinking- substance ; but here it appears as the 
force of extension and perception, and is multiplied infin- 
itely. We likewise meet his notion of mode and his de- 
terminism, but this is softened by the doctrine of the 
substantiality of individuals. In spite of its absolute 
identity, the monad develops continually. Our author 
takes it " for granted that every being, and consequently 
the created monad also, is subject to change, and even that 
this change is continual in each." ^ The soul, like the 
body, is in a state of change, tendency, and appetition. 
This perpetual change is called life. Each of these states 
composing it is the logical consequence of the preceding 
state and the source of the following state. "As every 
present state of a simple substance is naturally a conse- 
quence of its preceding state, so its present is big with the 
future." 2 

Hence, freedom of indifference is out of the question in 
the human soul. In the system of Leibniz, each substance 
or monad is free in the same sense as Spinoza's unitary sub- 
stance ; i. e., it is not determined by any power outside of 
itself. But though not determined from without, it is not 
on that account independent of its own nature, free in 
reference to itself. The determinism of Leibniz is to that 
of Spinoza what the determinism of St. Thomas is to the 
predestination of St. Augustine. It allows each spirit to be 
" as it were, a little divinity in its own department," and 
so softens the element in fatalism which is objectionable to 
the moral sense, without, however, ceasing to apply the 
law of causality and the principle of sufficient reason to 
both the physical and moral realms. " I am very far 
removed," he says, " from accepting the views of Brad- 
wardine, Wiclif, Hobbes, and Spinoza, but we must always 
bear witness to the truth," ^ and this truth is autonomous 

1 Monadologie, § 10. 2 7^.^ § 02. 3 Theodicee, II. 



determinism : nothing determines the acts of the soul ex- 
cept the soul itself and its preceding acts. 

If each monad is, ''as it were, a little divinity in its own 
department," if each is a little absolute, what is the highest 
Divinity, the real absolute ? If we were to judge from 
what we now know of the theory of monads, we should 
reply : Leibniz substitutes for the monotheism of Descartes 
and the pantheism of Spinoza a kind of polytheism, for the 
monarchical conception of the universe, a kind of cosmical 
republic governed by the law of harmony. But, though that 
may be his secret thought, it is not his exoteric doctrine. 
The harmony which governs the universe is a harmony 
pre-established hy God : it is not itself the absolute. The 
monads, which " are the true atoms of nature and the ele- 
ments of things," ^ are none the less created.^ They are 
indestructible, but a miracle can destroy them.^ That is 
to say, they are neither absolutely primitive and eternal, 
nor, in a word, the absolute ; but they depend on a divin- 
ity, " the primitive unity or the original simple substance, 
of which all monads, created or derived, are the pro- 
ducts, and are born, so to speak, from moment to moment, 
by continual fulgurations of the Divinity." ^ Hence, we 
have created monads on the one hand, and an uncreated 
monad, the Monad of monads, on the other ; the former are 
finite and relative ; the latter is infinite and absolute. 

This Monad of monads is not, like Bruno's, the universe 
itself considered as infinite ; it is a real God, that is, a God 
distinct from the universe. Leibniz proves his existence 
by the principle of sufficient reason. " This sufficient 
reason for the existence of the universe cannot be found in 
the succession of contingent things, that is, of bodies and 
their representations in souls ; because matter being indif- 
ferent in itself to motion and to rest, and to this or that 

1 Monadologie, § 3. 2 /^/.^ § 47. 

8 Id., § 6. * 7^/., § 47. 



motion, we cannot find the reason of motion in it, and still 
less of a particular motion. And although the present 
motion which is in matter comes from the preceding mo- 
tion, and this, in turn, from one preceding it, we do not 
advance one step though we go ever so far ; for the same 
question always remains. Thus, it is necessary that the 
sufficient reason, which has no further need of another 
reason, be outside of this series of contingent things, and 
be found in a substance which is their cause, or which is a 
necessary being, having the reason of its existence in itself, 
otherwise we should still have no sufficient reason at which 
to stop. And this ultimate reason of things is called God. 
This simple primitive substance must contain in itself 
eminently the perfections contained in the derivative sub- 
stances which are its effects ; hence it will have perfect 
power, knowledge, and will, that is, it will have omnipo- 
tence, omniscience, and supreme goodness." ^ Although 
Leibniz protests against anthropomorphism, he speaks of 
God as having " chosen the best possible plan in creating the 
universe, . . . and, above all, the laws of movement best 
adjusted and most conformable to abstract or metaphysical 
reasons." . . . Such, for example, by virtue of which " the 
same quantity of total and absolute force is always pre- 
served in it," and that other law by virtue of which 
" action and reaction are always equal." ^ 

The difficulty confronting the Leibnizian theology is the 
same as that which meets Descartes. The latter had to 
confess that the word " substance " when applied to God has 
not the same meaning as when applied to the creature, and, 
consequently, that the creature is not a substance in the 
true sense : a statement which occasioned the system of 
Spinoza. Leibniz's theology, too, seems to be caught on 
the horns of a dilemma : Either God is a monad, and in that 

^ Principes de la nature et de la grace, §§ 8, 9. 
2 Id., §§ 10, 11. Cf. Theodicee, III., § 345, 



case finite beings are not monads in tlie strict sense of the 
term (which overthrows the monadology) ; or, created be- 
ings are monads, and then we cannot call God a monad 
unless we identify him with his creatures. But the pliant 
and cautious genius of a Leibniz turns to account even his 
defeats. Though the idea of God is confused and contra- 
dictory for our intelligence, it is not so in itself. The fact 
that we are confronted with insoluble difficulties in contem- 
plating the absolute, simply proves that the human soul is 
not the Monad of monads, — that it occupies a distinguished 
but not the highest place in the scale of substances. Hence, 
it must follow from the very nature of things that we can 
have only a confused notion of the Supreme Being. Just 
as the plant has a confused perception of the animal, and 
the animal a confused perception of man, so, too, man has 
only an indistinct perception and a faint inkling of higher 
beings and the Supreme Being. In order to have an ade- 
quate notion of God, one would have to be God, and the 
fact that we have no such notion finds its natural explana- 
tion in the transcendency of the Supreme Being. God is 
supernatural or transcendent in relation to man, as man is 
a supernatural being with respect to animals, the animal a 
supernatural being with respect to plants, and so on. If 
we mean by reason the human und-erstanding, God is also 
suj)ra-rational in so far as he surpasses human nature (or is 
supernatural) ; that is, he transcends human intelligence as 
much as his perfection surpasses ours. 

We see with what skill the philosopher of universal 
conciliation acquits himself of his task as a mediator be- 
tween science and Christianity. Unlike the English phi- 
losophers, his contemporaries, who in true nominalistic 
fashion endeavor to separate religion and philosophy, he 
begins the work of St. Anselm and St. Thomas all over 
again on a different plan. His highest ambition is to form 
an alliance between philosophy and faith, and, if possible, 



between Lutheranism and Catholicism. He adopts the 
motto of the Schoolmen : Absolute agreement between the 
dogmas of the Church and human reason.^ He antagonizes 
those who distinguish between philosophical truth and re- 
ligious truth, — a distinction which saved the freethinkers 
of the Renaissance from anathema, — and he finds fault 
with Descartes for having cleverly evaded the discussion of 
the mysteries of faith, as though one could hold a philos- 
ophy that is irreconcilable with religion, or as though a 
religion could be true that contradicts truths otherwise 

Behind his seeming orthodoxy, however, we may easily 
detect the traces of his rationalism. When he proclaims 
theism he does so in the name of philosophy ; when he 
affirms the supernatural he does it in the name of reason, 
and, to a certain extent, by means of rationalism. He is so 
far removed from assuming the absolute transcendency of 
the divine being, as to hold that what transcends human 
reason cannot contradict reason. Like the ancient School- 
men before him, he continues to remind us that whatever is 
above reason is not therefore against reason, that whatever 
is decidedly contradictory to reason cannot be true in reli- 
gion. By virtue of the law of universal analogy, there must 
be an analogy, an agreement, a harmony, between divine 
reason and human reason ; and a radical opposition between 
the Creator and the creature is not conceivable. Owing to 
this agreement, man naturally possesses faith in God and in 
the immortality of the soul, these two central doctrines of 
all religion ; and revelation simply helps to bring out the 

1 Nothing better characterizes the essentially scholastic tendency 
of Leibniz than the following title of one of his last compositions : The 
Principles of Nature and of Grace, Founded on Reason (1714), and this 
other title ; Discourse on the Conformity of Faith with Reason (Intro- 
duction to the Theodicy). 

2 De vero methodo philosophice ei theologice, p. 111. 



truths which have been implanted in the human mind by 
the Creator. Christianity is evidently reduced to the narrow 
proportions of deism in the system of Leibniz, and revela- 
tion becomes a mere sanction of the principles of natural 

But, how could a thinker who held that souls have no 
windows through which anything can enter or pass out " 
do otherwise than favor theological rationalism ; how could 
he seriously declare that the soul is enlightened by a super- 
natural revelation ? How could the man who laughed 
at Newton and the Cartesians for assuming that God in- 
terferes with the world, really assume a special interven- 
tion of God in history? If we believe in revelation, we 
must also assume that God has given or can give to the 
soul the means of communicating with the external world, 
or windows, to use Leibniz's expression. Now, if God can 
give windows to the intelligent monad, then it is not con- 
trary to its nature to have them, — then it can have them. 
This means that it can cease to be an absolutely spontane- 
ous force or an absolute ruler in its domain ; it means, in a 
word, that it ceases to be a monad. Leibniz must choose 
between two alternatives : he must either accept the theory 
of monads and pre-established harmony, which, according 
to his explicit declaration,^ excludes all special divine in- 
tervention, or abandon his system in favor of the faith of 
the Church. 

The author of the Theodicy^ like St. Thomas, subordinates 
the will of God to the divine reason and its eternal laws. 
This is a characteristic trait of Leibnizian rationalism, and 
contrary to the doctrines of Descartes and his teachers, the 
Scotists and the Jesuits, according to whom not only meta- 
physical and moral truths, but even mathematical axioms, 
depend on the divine will. " It must not be imagined," he 
says,^ " as is sometimes done, that the eternal truths which 

^ Principe^ de la nature et <le la (/rdce, § 13. ^ Monadologie^ § 46 



are dependent on God are arbitrary and depend on his will, 
as Descartes and afterward M. Poiret ^ seem to have be- 
lieved. . . . Nothing could be more unreasonable. . . . For 
if the establishment of justice (for example) happened arbi- 
trarily and without reason, if God hit upon it haphazard, 
as we di-aw lots, then his goodness and Avisdom are not 
revealed in it, and it does not bind him. And if he es- 
tablished or made what we call justice and goodness by a 
purely arbitrary decree and without reason, he can unmake 
them and change their nature, so that we have no reason to 
suppose that he will observe them always. ... It is no 
more contrary to reason and piety to say (with Spinoza) 
that God acts without knowledge, than to claim that his 
knowledge does not find the eternal rules of goodness and of 
justice among its objects ; or finally, that he has a will which 
has no regard for these rules." ^ 

Hence, the God of Leibniz is not like an Oriental mon- 
arch ; he is a sovereign bound by laws which he cannot un- 
make, a kind of constitutional king and chief executive of 
the universe, rather than the all-powerful autocrat of Ter- 
tullian and Duns Scotus. He resembles the God of Mon- 
tesquieu, who " has his laws," rather than the God of the 
indeterministic theologians. The supreme power is not 
the will of God taken hy itself^ but his will governed by the 
eternal laws of his intelligence, laws which determine his 
conduct without constraining him, since they constitute the 
very essence of his nature. Instead of the nature of God^ 
Spinoza simply said nature. According to Leibniz, the 
Supreme Being is nature manifesting itself through the 

1 A pastor at Hamburg, a native of Metz (1646-1719). Against 
the theory of innate ideas of his sometime teacher Descartes, and 
Locke's theory of acquired ideas, he sets up his mystical theory of in- 
fused ideas, that is, ideas communicated by an inspiration from on high 
{(Economie divine, 7 vols., Amsterdam, 1687 ; etc.). 

2 Theodicee, II., 176-177. 



medium of a personal will ; according to Spinoza, he is na- 
ture acting without such a medium; or, if we choose, an 
unconscious will. Hence, both thinkers are determinists, 
h o we ve:^ violently Leibniz may protest against the teachings 
of of Amsterdam. 

In creating things, God was determined by liis infinite 
reason, and necessarily created the best possible world. 
Evil exists only in the details, and serves to enhance the 
glory of the good : the whole is supremely perfect. The 
Theodicy deals with the question of physical, metaphysical, 
and moral evil, and aims to refute those who regard the ex- 
istence of evil as an aigument against Providence. It is a 
popular rather than a scientific book. It is surprising with 
what familiarity the author speaks of God, just as though 
God had initiated him into the innermost secrets of his 
nature. How can Leibniz, who has such certain knowledge 
that God is not the free author of the natural and moral 
laws, that his will depends on his intelligence, that he neces- 
sarily created the best possible world, maintain that God is 
supra-rational ? What a strange procedure ! First he rele- 
gates the Being of Beings to the domain of mystery, like so 
many theologians, and then he defines him, describes him, 
and makes out a complete inventory of his attributes, as 
though he were describing a plant or a mineral. For this 
reason as well as on account of his attitude towards empir- 
icism, Leibniz, whose monadology is so great, so original, 
and so modern, still belongs to the tribe of the Schoolmen. 

But the time had now come for subjecting ontology to 
the critical sif ting-process. The controversy between Leib- 
niz and the Englishman Locke concerning the origin of 
ideas formed the prelude to an important epoch in the his- 
tory of modern philosophy. 

In view of his principle " that the monad has no win- 
dows," Leibniz cannot grant that our knowledge has any 
other source tlian the soul itself. Nothing can enter it ; 



hence, strictly speaking, the direct observation of external 
facts or experience is impossible. Experience through the 
niecUum of the senses is an illusion ; it is, in reality, noth- 
ing but confused thought. He repeatedly declares that the 
soul, and the soul alone, is both the subject and the ob- 
ject of sensation. We never perceive and experience any- 
thing but ourselves. Everything in the mind is spontane- 
ous production, thought, or speculation. Whether we shall 
regard our thought as the result of an impression from with- 
out, or as the product of the mind itself, will depend on 
its degree of clearness or confusion. Thought, however, 
tliough autonomous, is not arbitrary and free from law. It 
obeys the sovereign laws of contradiction and sufficient 
reason. But it does not depend on anything external to 
the thinking monad, around which the prmcipium dis- 
tiiictionis rises like an impassable wall. Leibniz also 
declares, in answer to Locke's denial of innate ideas, ^ 
that nothing is inborn in the understanding except the 
understanding itself^ and, consequently, the germ of all 
our ideas.'^ 

The difference between Leibniz and Locke seems very 
slight : Locke by no means denies the innate power of the 
mind to form ideas, while Leibniz grants that ideas do not 
pre-exist in the mind actually ; they exist in it virtually, as 
the veins in a block of marble might mark the outlines of a 
statue to be made from it. Now, then, either the exj)ression, 
virtual or potential existence of ideas in the mind, has no 
meaning, or it is synonymous with power (potentia, virtus)^ 
or mental faculty of forming ideas, a faculty which Locke 
is perfectly willing to admit. But this seemingly insig- 
nificant controversy really represented the opposition be- 

^ Essay concerning Human Understanding, ch. I. 

2 Nouveaux essais, Preface : Nous sommes innes a nous memes pour 
ainsi dire ; id., II., 1 : Nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu, ex- 
cise : nisi ipse intellectus. 



tween the Middle Ages and modern philosophy, between the 
speculative method, which passes from conceptions to facts, 
and the positive method, which passes from facts to concep- 
tions. Locke does not merely combat the idealistic princi- 
ple ; what he especially antagonizes is the idealistic prejudice 
that a priori reasoning relieves the 2:)hilosopher of the duty 
of directly observing facts. By declaring himself against 
the author of the Essay concerning Unman Understanding^ 
Leibniz, who was otherwise more profound and more specu- 
lative than his opponent, sided with the School, that is, with 
the past against the future. 

All that was necessary was to present his doctrines 
in scholastic form. This the mathematician Christian 
Wolff ^ proceeded to do. The Leibnizian system con- 
tained a precious gem : the conception of active force, 
which had superseded the dualism of thought and exten- 
sion, and this treasure was lost in the labored attempts of 
the professor of Halle to remodel the system. This clear 
and systematic but narrow-minded thinker revived the ex- 
tended and thinking substances of Cartesianism, wdthout 
even suspecting that he was thereby destroying the cen- 
tral and really fruitful notion of the Monadology. Thus 
altered and divided into rational ontology, psychology, 
cosmology, and theology, the Leibniz-Wolffian metaphys- 

1 1679-1754. Professor at the University of Halle, from which the 
influence of the Pietists succeeded in removing him. He was recalled 
by Frederick II. Latin works : Oratio de Sinarum philosophia, Halle, 
1726 ; Philosophin rationalis sive logica metliodo scientifica pertracta, 
Frankfort and Leipsic, 1728 ; Philosophia prima s. ontologia, id., 1730 , 
Cosmologia generalis, id., 1731; Psycliologia empirica, id., 1732; Psy- 
chohgia rationalis, id., 1734 ; Tlieologia naturalis, 1736-37 ; Jus naturcBy 
1740; Philosophia moralis sice elhica, Halle, 1750; Philosophia civilis 
sive politica, id., 1746; Jus gentium, 1750; and a large number of 
treatises in the German language. [See, on Wolff and his school, 
Zeller, Die deutsche Philosophie seit Leibniz, 2d ed., Munich, 1875, 
pp. 172 ff.] 



ics dominated the German schools until the advent of 

1 The principal disciples of the Leibniz-WolfRan school are : Ludo- 
vici (Ausfiihrlicher Entwurf einer vollstdndigen Historie der wolffischen 
Philosophie, 3 vols., Leipsic, 1736-38) ; Bilfinger (1693-1750), author 
of numerous and lucid commentaries on the philosophy of Leibniz 
and Wolff ; Thiimming (Institutiones pMlosophice Wolffiance, etc.') ; Baum- 
garten (1714-1762), who, in his jEsthetica (2 vols., 1750-58), adds 
the theory of the beautiful in art, or wsthetics, to the philosophical 
sciences, etc. Kant himself was a disciple of Wolff before he became 
his adversary, and the numerous representatives of the German Au/- 
kldrung, which preceded the appearance of the Critiques, were related 
to AYolft' (Reimarus, Moses Mendelssohn, Lessing, Nicolai, etc.). [See 
R. Sommer, Grundzuge einer Geschichte der deutschen Psychologic und 
JEsthetik, etc., Wiirzburg, 1892, and Dessoir's work, supra, p. 15.] 




§ 57. John Locke 

The author of the work criticised by Leibniz, John 
LocKE,^ was born at Wrington in Somersetshire. A fel- 
low-countryman of Occam and the two Bacons, he shows 
the anti-mystical and positivistic tendencies common to 
English philosophy. The study of medicine revealed to 
him the barrenness of scholastic learning. What, in his 
opinion, perpetuated the traditions of a priori speculation 
and the ignorance of reality, was the Platonic doctrine of 
innate metaphysical, moral, and religious truths, teachings 
which Ralph Cud worth ^ and Descartes himself had^ 

1 1632-1704. Complete works, London, 1714 ff. ; 9 vols., id., 1853 ; 
philosophical works, ed. by St. John, 2 vols., London, 1854. Next 
to his Essay concerning Human Understanding, his most important 
work is Thoughts on Education, London, 1693 ; in French, Amster- 
dam, 1705. [Lord King, Life of Locke, London, 1829 ; H. R. Fox 
Bourne, The Life of John Locke, 2 vols., London, 1876] ; V. Cousin, 
Xa philosophie de Locke, 6th ed., Paris, 1863 ; [A. de Fries, Die Sub- 
stanzenlehre John Locke's, etc., Bremen, 1879; Th. Fowler, Locke {Eng- 
lish Men of Letters), London, 1880 ; A. C. Fraser, Loc ke {Blackwood's 
Philosophical Classics), Edinburgh, 1890; M. M. Curtis, An Outline of 
Locke's Ethical Philosophy, Leipsic, 1890 ; G. v. Hertling, John Locke 
und die Schule von Cambridge, Freiburg i. B., 1892; Marion, /. Locke, 
Paris, 1893. See also T. H. Green's Introduction to Hume and the 
works pertaining to both Locke and Leibniz, mentioned under 
" Leibniz." — Tr.] 

2 1617-1688. In his chief work, The True Intellectual System of 
the Unirerse (London, 1678), ho combats the materialistic conclusions 



undertaken to defend. The fact is, if truth is native to 
the mind, it is useless to search for it outside by observation 
and experimentation. Then we may, by means of a 'priori 
speculation, meditation, and reasoning, evolve it from our 
own inner consciousness, as the spider spins its web out of 
itself. This hypothesis Descartes consistently carries out 
when he " closes his eyes and stops his ears," and abstracts 
from everything acquired by the senses ; but he ceases to 
be consistent when he assiduously devotes himself to the 
study of anatomy and physiology. Indeed, the favorite 
method of the metaphysics of the monasteries and univer- 
sities was to close one's eyes, to stop one's ears, and to 
ignore the real world. This method prevailed as long as 
the conviction existed that our ideas have their source 
within us. Hence, it was necessary, in order to make the 
philosophers " open their eyes to the real world," to prove 
to them that all our ideas come to us from without, through 
the medium of sensation : it was necessary to demonstrate 
that our ideas are not innate but acquired. y 
This Locke undertook to do in his Essay concerning 
Human Understanding ^ (London, 1690), which, with im- 
portant additions by the author, was translated into French 
by Coste (1700). This great work marks the beginning of 
a series of investigations which were completed by Kant's 
Critique. Locke's aim is : (1) to discover what is the origin 
of our ideas ; (2) to show what is the certainty, the evi- 
dence, and the extent of our knowledge ; (3) to compel 

of Thomas Hobbes with the system of Christianized Platonism, which 
also influenced men like Malebranche, Leibniz, Bonnet, and Herder. 
[See C. E. Lowrey, The Philosophy of Ralph Cudworfh, New York, 

1 [Edited, collated, and annotated by A. C. Eraser, 2 vols., New 
York, 1894 ; J. E. Russel, The Philosophy of Locke in Extracts from 
the Essay, etc. {Series of Modern Philosophers), New York, 1891. 



philosophy to abandon what surpasses human comprehen- 
sion hy dearly marking the limits of its capacity?- 

We have no innate knowledge : such is his revolutionary 
doctrine against idealism. 

As it is evident that new-born children, idiots, and even 
the great part of illiterate men, have not the least appre- 
hension of the axioms alleged to be innate, the advocates 
of innate ideas are obliged to assume that the mind can 
have ideas without being conscious of them.^ But to say, 
a notion is imprinted on the mind, and at the same time to 
maintain that the mind is ignorant of it, is to make this 
impression nothing. If these words, to he in the under- 
standing^ have any positive meaning, they signify to he per- 
ceived and to he understood hy the understanding : hence, if 
any one asserts that a thing is in the understanding, and 
that it is not understood by the understanding, and that it 
is in the mind without being perceived by the mind, it 
amounts to saying that a thing is and is not in the under- 

The knowledge of some ideas, it is true, is very early 
in the mind. But if we will observe, we shall find that 
these kinds of truths are made up of acquired and not of 
innate truths.^ It is by degrees that we acquire ideas, 
that we learn the terms which are employed to express 
them, and that we come to understand their true connec- 
tion.^ The universal consent of mankind to certain truths 
does not prove that these are innate ; for nobody knows 
these truths till he hears them from others. For, if they 

1 Essay, Book I., ch. I., Introduction. 

'■^ Thus Leibniz speaks of unconscious perception, and Leibniz is 
right, notwithstanding the English philosopher's objections. His 
only mistake consists in his failure to recoguize that the unconscious 
perceptions need some external solicitation in order to become con- 
scious, which, however, his preconceptions will not allow him to 

3 Book L, ch. TL, 5, 15. * ]d., 15. 



were innate, " what need they be proposed to gain assent ? " 
An innate and unknown truth is a contradiction in terms. 

The principles of morals are no more innate than the 
rest, unless we so call the desire for happiness and the aver- 
sion to misery, which are, indeed, innate tendencies, but 
which are not the expressions of some truth engraven on 
the understanding.! In this field universal consent cannot 
be invoked in any case ; for moral ideas vary from nation 
to nation, from religion to religion. The keeping of con- 
tracts, for example, is without dispute one of the most un- 
deniable duties in morality. But, if you ask a Christian, 
who believes in rewards and punishments after this life, 
why a man should keep his word, he will give this as a 
reason : Because God, who has the power of eternal life and 
death, requires it of us. But if a Hobbist be asked why, 
he will answer. Because the public requires it, and the 
Leviathan will punish you if you do not. Finally, a pagan 
philosopher would have answered that the violation of a 
promise was dishonest, unworthy of the excellence of man, 
and contrary to his vocation, which is perfect virtue. 

The fact is urged against Locke that conscience re- 
proaches us for the breach of the rules of morality. But 
conscience is nothing else but our own opinion of our own 
actions^^ and if conscience were a proof of the existence of 
innate principles, these principles could be contrary to each 
other, since some persons do, for conscience's sake, what 
others avoid for the same reason. Do not the savages prac- 
tise enormities without the slightest remorse ? The break- 
ing of a moral rule is undoubtedly no argument that it is 
unknown. But it is impossible to conceive that a whole 
nation of men should all publicly reject what every one of 
them certainly and infallibly knew to be a moral law. No 
practical rule which is anywhere transgressed hj general 
consent can be regarded as innate. To hold that the prac- 
1 c. TIL, 3. 2 /^.^ 8. 


tical principles are innate is to declare all moral education 

That does not mean that there are only positive laws. 
There is a great deal of difference between an innate law 
and a law of nature, between a truth originally imprinted 
on our minds and a truth which we are ignorant of, but 
may attain to the knowledge of by the use and due applica- 
tion of our natural faculties. Furthermore, consider the 
origin of a host of doctrines which pass as indubitable 
axioms : though derived from no other source than the su- 
perstition of a nurse or the authority of an old woman, they 
often grow up, by length of time and consent of neighbors, 
to the dignity of principles in religion and morality. The 
mind of the child receives the impressions which we desire 
to give it, like white paper on which you write any charac- 
ters you choose. When children so instructed reach the 
age of reason and come to reflect on themselves, they can- 
not find anything more ancient in their minds than those 
opinions, and therefore imagine that those propositions of 
vjhose kfiowledge they can find in themselves no original, are 
the impress of God and nature^ and not things taught them 
hij any one else} 

Moreover, how can a truth, that is, a proposition, be in- 
nate, if the ideas which make up that truth are not ? In 
order that a proposition be innate, certain ideas must be 
innate ; but, excepting perhaps some faint ideas of hunger, 
warmth, and pains, which they may have felt in the mother's 
womb, there is not the least appearance that new-born 
children have any settled ideas. Even the idea of God is 
not innate; for besides the individuals who are called 
atheists and who are really atheists, there are whole nations 
who have no notion of God nor any term to express it. 
Moreover, this notion varies infinitely from coarse anthro- 
pomorphism to the deism of the philosophers. And even if 

874 - 



it were uniyersal and everywhere the same, it would not, 
on that account, be more innate than the idea of fire ; for 
there is no one who has any idea of God who has not also 
the idea of hre.^ 

The soul is originally an empty tablet. Experience is the 
source of all our ideas, the foundation of all our knowledge, 
that is, the observations which Ave make about external sen- 
sible objects or about the internal operations of our minds. 
Sensation is the source of our knowledge of external objects, 
reflection^ of our knowledge of internal facts. There is not 
in the mind a single idea that is not derived from one or 
both of these principles. The first ideas of the child come 
from sensation, and it is only at a more advanced age that 
he seriously reflects on what takes place Avithin him. The 
study of languages may be cited in support of this thesis. 
In fact, all the words which we employ depend on sensible 
ideas, and those which are made use of to stand for actions 
and notions quite removed from sense have their rise from 
thence, and from obvious sensible ideas are transferred to 
more abstruse significations. Thus, for example, to imagine, 
apprehend, comprehend, adhere, conceive, instil, disgust, 
disturbance, tranquillity, etc., are all words taken from the 
operations of sensible things and applied to certain modes 
of thinking. Spirit, in its primary signification, is breath ; 
angel, a messenger. If Ave could trace all these words to 
their sources, Ave should certainly find in all languages the 
names which stand for things that fall not under our senses 
to have had their first rise from sensible ideas.^ FoIIoav a 
child from its birth and observe the alterations that time 
makes, and you shall find, as the mind by the senses comes 
more and more to be furnished with ideas, it comes to be 
more and more awake, and thinks more, the more it has 
matter to think on. 

Locke answers the question. When do Ave begin to think ? 
1 c. IIL, 9. 2 B. III., chap. I., 5. 



/ as follows : As soon as sensation furnishes us with the ma- 
k terials. We do not think before we have sensations. JVihil 
est in iiitellectu quod non antca fuerit in sensu. According 
to the idealist, thought is the essence of the soul, and it is 
not possible for the soul not to think ; it thinks antecedent 
to and independently of sensation ; it always thinks even 
though it is not conscious of it. But experience, which 
alone can settle the question, by no means proves it, and it 
is 7wt any more necesso^ry for the soul always to think than it 
i is for the hody always to move} The absolute continuity of 
I thought is one of those hypotheses which have no fact of 
£ experience to bear them out. A man cannot think without 
perceiving that he thinks. With as much reason might we 
J claim that a man is always hungry, but that he does not 
always feel it.^ Thought depends entirely on sensation. 
In its sublimes t ideas and in its highest speculations it does 
not stir beyond those ideas which sense or reflection has 
offered for its contemplation. In this part the understand- 
ing is purely passive. The objects of our senses obtrude 
their particular ideas upon our minds whether we will or 
not. These simple ideas, when offered to the mind, the 
understanding can no more refuse to have, nor alter, nor 
blot them out, than a mirror can refuse, alter, or obliterate 
the images of the objects placed before it."^ 

There are two kinds of ideas, some simple and some 
complex. These simple ideas, the materials of all our 
knowledge, are suggested to the mind only by those two 
ways above mentioned, viz., sensation and reflection. The 
mind, though passive in the formation of simple ideas, is 
active in the formation of complex ideas. It receives the 
former, it makes the latter. When it has once received 
the simple ideas it has the power to repeat, compare, and 
unite them, even to an almost infinite variety, and so can 
make new complex ideas. But it is not in the power of 
1 B. II., chap. L, 10. 2/^.^19. 3 /J., 25. 



the most fruitful mind to form a single new simple idea, 
not taken in by the way of sensation and reflection. The 
dominion of man, in this little world of his own under- 
standing, is the same as it is in the great world of visible 
things, wherein his power, however managed by art and 
skill, reaches no farther than to compound and divide the 
materials that are made to his hand ; hut can do iiotldng 
towards the making the least particle of new inatter^ or 
destroying one atom of what is already m heing.^ 

The simple ideas come into our minds by one sense only, 
or by more senses than one, or from reflection only, or, 
finally, by all the ways of sensation and reflection.^ 

Among the ideas which come to us only through one 
sense (colois, sounds, tastes, smells, etc.), there is none 
which we receive more constantly than the idea of solidity 
or impenetrability. We receive this idea from touch. This, 
of all simple ideas, is the idea most intimately connected 
with and essential to body. Solidity is neither space — 
with which the Cartesians erroneously identify it — nor 
hardness. It differs from space as resistance differs from 
non-resistance. A body is solid in so far as it fills the space 
which it occupies to the absolute exclusion of every other 
body ; it is hard, in so far as it does not easily change its 
figure. It is not properly a definition of solidity that 
Locke pretends to give us. If we ask him to give us a 
clearer explanation of solidity, he sends us to our senses to 
inform us. The simple ideas we have are such as experi- 
ence teaches us ; but if, beyond that, we endeavor to make 
them clearer in the mind, we shall succeed no better. 

The ideas which come to the mind by more than one 
sense (sight and touch) are those of space or extension, 
figure, rest, and motion. By reflection we get the ideas of 
perception or the power of thinking, and the ideas of vol- ( 
ition or the power to act. Finally, the ideas of pleasure, i 
1 B. II., chap. II., 2. 2 7^,^ chap. III., 1. ^ 



pain, power, existence, and unity come to us by sensation 
and reflection. 

Some of the external causes of our sensations are real 
and positive, others are only privations in the objects 
from whence our senses derive those ideas, like those, for 
examj)le, which produce the ideas of cold, darkness, and 
rest. When the understanding perceives these ideas, it con- 
siders them as distinct and as positive as the others, witli- 
out taking notice of the causes that produce them, which 
is an inquiry not belonging to the idea, as it is in the 
understanding, but to the nature of the things existing 
without us. Now these are two very different things, and 
carefully to be distinguished ; we must not think that our 
ideas are exactly the images and resemblances of something 
inherent in the object which produces them ; for most of 
the ideas of sensation loliich are in oiu' minds no more 
the likeness of som.etliing existing 'without us, than the names 
that stand for them are the likeness of our ideas^ although 
these names are apt to excite ideas in us as soon as we 
hear them.i 

Different things should have different names ; hence, 
whatsoever the mind perceives in itself, every perception 
that is in the mind when it thinks, Locke calls idea^ and 
the power or faculty to produce any idea in our mind he 
calls the quality of the subject (we should say: of the 

That being established, Locke, like Hobbes, distinguishes 
two kinds of qualities.'-^ Some, such as solidity, extension, 

1 B. II., chap. VIII., 1 ff. Here we have the fundamental princi- 
ple of criticism which, as we have seen, was advanced by Aristippus, 
Pyrrho, ^Enesidemus, Hobbes, and Descartes. The eighth chapter of 
the second book of the Essay, of which the above is a summary, and 
especially § 7 of this chapter, is the classical expression of the 
philosophy to which Kant gives its real name. 

=2 Id., 9. 



figure, and mobility, are inseparable from the body, in what 
state soever it be : such as it constantly keeps in all the 
alterations it suffers. These are the original or frimary 
or real qualities of body.^ Others, like colors, sounds, 
tastes, etc., do not belong to the bodies themselves, and are 
nothing but the power which they have to produce various 
sensations in us by their primary qualities, that is, by the 
bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts. 
Locke calls them secondary qualities : qualities^ in order to 
comply with the common way of speaking, which con- 
siders white, red, and sweet as something inherent in the 
bodies ; secondary^ in order to distinguish them from those 
which are real qualities. 

Whatever reality we may by mistake attribute to them, 
colors, smells, sounds, and tastes are nothing but sensa- 
tions produced in its by the primary or real qualities of 
bodies, — sensations which in no way resemble the qualities 
which exist iyi the objects. What is sweet, blue, or warm 
in idea is nothing but a certain bulk, figure, and motion 
of the insensible parts in the bodies themselves which we 
call so. Take away the sensation which we have of these 
qualities ; let not the eyes see light or colors, nor the ears 
hear sounds ; let the palate not taste, nor the nose smell ; 
and all colors, tastes, odors, and sounds will vanish and 
cease to exist. In the opposite hypothesis, the result will 
be the same. Suppose man were endowed with senses suf- 
ficiently fine to discern the small particles of bodies and the . 
real constitution on which their sensible qualities depend, ^ 
and they will produce in him quite different ideas. The 
effects of the microscope prove it; blood, for example, 
seems quite red to us, but by means of this instrument, 
which discovers to us its smallest particles, we see nothing 
but a very small number of red globules ; and we do not 
know how these red globules would appear if we could 
1 B. IL, chap. VIIL, 9. 



find glasses with a magnifying power tliat is a thousand or 
ten thousand times greater. 

The formation of ideas presupposes the following facul- 
ties in the understanding : (1) perception, which is the first 
step and degree towards knowledge, and the inlet of all 
the materials of it; (2) retention, which keeps the ideas 
brought into the mind, for some time actually in view (con- 
templation), and revives again those which after imprinting 
have disappeared from it (memory) ; (3) discernment, or the 
faculty of clearly distinguishing between the different ideas; 
(4) comparison, which forms that large tribe of ideas com- 
prehended under relations ; (5) composition, whereby the 
mind joins together several simple ideas which it has re- 
ceived from sensation and reflection, and combines them into 
complex ones ; finally (6) abstraction.^ If every particular 
idea that we take in should have a distinct name, the num- 
ber of words would be endless. To prevent this, the mind 
makes the particular ideas received from particular objects, 
general ; it separates them (ahstrahere) from all the circum- 
stances which make these ideas represent particular and 
actually existent beings, as time, place, and other concomi- 
tant ideas. This operation of the mind is called abstrac- 
tion. It is the prerogative of the human mind, whereas 
the preceding faculties are common to man and brutes. 

The mind is passive in perception proper, but becomer 
more and more active in the following steps ; comparison, 
the comj)osition of complex ideas, and abstraction, are the 
three great acts of the mind. But, however active the 
mind may be in the formation of complex ideas, these are 
in the last analysis but modes or modifications of the 
materials which it passively receives from sensation and 

Thus the ideas of place, figure, distance, and immensity 
are modifications or modes of the simple idea of space, which 
1 B. IT., chaps. IX., ff. 



is acquired by sight and touch ; the ideas of periods, hours, 
days, years, time, eternity, are modifications of the idea of 
duration or succession, which we acquire by observing the 
constant train of ideas which succeed one another in our 
minds ; the idea of finite and infinite, modifications of the 
idea of quantity.^ 

If it be objected that the ideas of infinity, eternity, and 
immensity cannot have the same source as the others, since 
the objects which surround us have no affinity nor any pro- 
portion with an infinite extension or duration, Locke an-' 
swers that these ideas are merely negative, that we do not 
actually have in the mind any positive idea of an infinite 
space or an endless duration ^ (Aristotle). All our positive 
ideas are always limited. The negative idea of an infinite 
space and duration comes from the power which the mind 
has of extending its ideas of space and duration by an end- 
less number of new additions. 

We get the idea of active and passive power (recep- 
tivity) when we observe, on the one hand, the continual 
alteration in things, and, on the other, the constant change 
of our ideas, which is sometimes caused by the impression 
of outward objects on our senses, and sometimes by the 
determination of our own will. 

When we reflect on the poAver which the mind has to 
command the presence or the absence of any particular 
idea, or to prefer the motion of any part of the body to its 
rest, and vice versa^ we acquire the idea of will. Will is not 
opposed to necessity^ but to restraint. Liberty is not an 
attribute of the will. Will is a power or ability, and free- 
dom another power or ability; so that to ask a man 
whether his will be free is to ask whether one power has 
another power, one ability another ability.^ To speak of a 
free will is like speaking of swift sleep or square virtue. 

1 B. II., chaps. XIT. ff. 2 1,1^ chap. XVII., 13. 

3 Id., chap. XXI. 



We are not free to will. We are not free to will or not to 
will a thing which is in our power, when once we give our 
attention to it. The will is determined by the mind,^ and 
the mind is determined by the desire for happiness. On 
this point Locke, Leibniz, and Spinoza are in perfect 
accord, and unanimously opposed to Cartesian indeter- 

The notions which we have just analyzed are combina- 
tions of simple ideas of the same kind {simple modes). 
Others, like obligation, friendship, falsehood, and hy^DOcrisy, 
are composed of simple ideas of dilferent kinds {mixed 
modes). Thus, the mixed mode which the word lie stands 
for is made of these simple ideas : (1) articulate sounds ; 
(2) certain ideas in the mind of the speaker; (3) words 
which are the signs of those ideas ; (4) those signs put 
together by affirmation or negation, otherwise than as the 
ideas they stand for are in the mind of the speaker. 

We get the idea of these mixed modes as follows : (1 ) 
By experience and observation of things themselves. Thus, 
by seeing two men wrestle or fence we get the idea of 
wrestling or fencing. (2) By invention, or voluntary put- 
ting together of several simple ideas in our own minds : so 
he that first invented printing or etching had an idea of it 
in his mind before it ever existed. (3) By explaining the 
names of actions we never saw, or notions we cannot see. 
The several fashions, customs, and manners of a nation 
give rise to several combinations of ideas which are 
familiar and necessary to that nation, but which another 
people have never had any occasion to make. Special 
names come to be annexed to such special combinations of 
a people, to avoid long periphrases in things of daily con- 
versation {ostracis<m among the Greeks, proscription among 
the Romans), and so there are in every language particular 
terms which cannot be literally translated into any other. 

1 B. II., chap. XXI., 29. 



So much for the complex ideas that express modes. 

The complex ideas of siobstances (man, horse, tree) are 
formed as follows : The mind observes that a certain num- 
ber of simple ideas, conveyed in by the different senses, con- 
stantly go together, and accustoms itself to regard such a 
complication of ideas as one object, and designates it by one 
name. Hence, a substance is nothing but a combination of 
a certain number of simple ideas, considered as united in 
one tiling. Thus the substance called sun is nothing but 
the aggregate of the ideas of light, heat, roundness, and con- 
stant, regular motion. By substance, the philosophy of the 
School, and afterwards Descartes, imagined an unknown 
object, which they assumed to be the support (^substratiom) 
of such qualities as are capable of producing simple 
ideas in us, which qualities are commonly called accidents. 
But this substance considered as cmytliing else but the com- 
bination of these qualities, as something hidden behind 
them, is a mere phantom of the imagination. We have no 
distinct idea of such a substratum without qualities. If 
any one should be asked wherein color or weight inheres, 
" he would have nothing to say, but the solid extended parts ; 
and if he were demanded what is it that solidity and exten- 
sion adhere in, he would not be in a much better case than 
the Indian before mentioned, who, saying that the world 
Avas supported by a great elephant, was asked what the ele- 
phant rested on ; to which his answer was, — a great tor- 
toise ; but being again pressed to know what gave support 
to the broad-backed tortoise, replied, — something, he knew 
not what." ^ Our knowledge does not extend beyond the 
assumed accidents, that is, beyond our simple ideas, and 
whenever metaphysics attempts to proceed beyond them it 
is confronted with insurmountable difficulties. 

The third class of complex ideas express relation. The 
most comprehensive relation wherein all things are con- 
1 B. 11., chap. XXIIL, 2. 



cerned is the relation of cause and effect. We get the idea 
of this by noticing, by means of the senses, the constant 
vicissitude of things, and by observing that they owe their 
existence to the action of some other being. Locke does 
not analyze the idea of cause as thoroughly as his successor 
Hume. We shall see that the latter regards it as no less 
illusory than the idea of substance, or substratum. 

In passing from the study of ideas to the problem of 
knowledge and certitude, Locke enters upon a philological 
discussion, which we have partly reproduced above, and 
which stamps liim as one of the founders of the philosophy 
of language. 

All things that exist are particulars. The far greatest 
part of words (with the exception of proper names) are 
general terms ; which has not been the effect of neglect or 
chance, but of reason and necessity. In what do the species 
and genera consist, and how do they come to be formed ? 
Our ideas are at first particular. The ideas which the chil- 
dren have of their nurse and their mother represent only 
those individuals. The names which they first gave to 
them are confined to these individuals and designate only 
them. Afterwards, when time and a larger acquaintance 
with the world have made them observe that there are a 
great many other things that resemble their father and 
mother and those persons they have been used to, they 
frame an idea, which they find those many particulars do 
partake in ; and to that they give, with others, the name 
man. And thus tliey come to have a general name, and a 
general idea ; wherein they make nothing new, but only 
leave out of the complex idea they had of Peter and James, 
Mary and Jane, that which is peculiar to each, and retain 
only what is common to all. In the same way they acquire 
all general ideas. This process of abstraction and general- 
ization is a necessity ; for it would be impossible for each 
thing to have a particular name. It is beyond the power 



of human capacity to frame and retain distinct ideas of all 
the particular things we meet with, — of every tree, of every 
plant, of every beast, that affected the senses. Still less 
possible would it be to retain their names. But even if it 
could be done, it would not be of any great use for the im- 
provement of knowledge ; for although our knowledge is 
founded on particular observations, it enlarges itself by 
general views, which can only be formed by reducing the 
things to certain species under general names. 

General notions (universalia) are nothing but abstract and 
partial ideas of more complex ones, taken from particular 
existences. They are simple products of our minds. Gen- 
eral and universal belong not to the real existence of things ; 
hut are the inventions and creatures of the understanding} 
It is true that nature, in the production of things, makes 
several of them alike ; there is nothing more obvious, espe- 
cially in the races of animals, and all things propagated by 
seed. But the reduction of these things to species is the 
workmanship of the understanding. Owing to its lack of 
a thorough knowledge of nature, the Platonic doctrine, 
which regarded universals as the ingenerable and incorrupt- 
ible essences of things, disregarded this fact of experience 
that all things that exists besides their author, are liable to 
change ; thus, that which was grass to-day is to-morrow the 
flesh of a sheep, and within a few days after becomes part 
of a man. In the organic world, as elsewhere, the genera, 
species, essences, and substantial forms, dreamt of by the 
metaphysicians, far from being things regularly and con- 
stantly made by nature and having a real existence in 
things themselves (Aristotle) or apart from them (Plato), 
" appear, upon a more wary survey, to be nothing else but an 
artifice of the understanding, for the easier signifying such 
collections of ideas as it should often have occasion to com- 
municate by one general term." Notice, moreover, how 

1 B. III., chap. III., 11. 



doubtful is the signification of the word " species," and how 
difficult it is to define organic beings.^ So uncertain are 
the boundaries of animal species that none of the definitions 
of the word " man " which we yet have, nor descriptions of 
that sort of animal, are so perfect and exact as to satisfy a 
considerate inquisitive person. ^ We may find that learned 
men multiply species too much, but we may also hold the 
opposite. Why, for example, are not a shock and a hound 
as distinct species as a spaniel and an elephant ? Any one 
who carefully observes the individuals ranked under one 
and the same general name can hardly doubt that many of 
them are as different, one from another, as several of those 
which are ranked under different specific names.^ 

We may remark, in passing, that the modern theory of 
the transmutation of species is nothing but an application 
of Locke's teaching that species have no objective reality. 
Let us also note the important fact that this extreme nom- 
inalism closely approximates extreme realism. Scholastic 
nominalism denies the reality of species, and absolutely 
affirms the reality of individuals to the exclusion of every- 
thing else. In this sense Leibniz is a nominalist. English 
nominalism, from which the theory of transformation takes 
its rise, denies not only the existence of species, but also the 
stability of the individuals themselves. All things, says 
Locke, besides their author, are liable to change. Now this 
is exactly what Sjjinoza teaches. He is not content with 
repudiating universals for the sake of the one universal 
Being, but considers the individuals themselves as passing 
modes of what he calls substance, what the materialists 
call matter, and Locke and the positivists call the great 

Hence, species, genera, and universals are mere words 
(flatus vocis). The traditional error of the metaphysicians 

1 B. III., chap, v., 9. 2 7j.^ chap. VI., 27. 

« Id., chap. VI., 38 ; chap. X., 20. 



consists m taking tvords for things.'^ The disciples of the 
Peripatetic philosophy are persuaded that the ten categories 
of Aristotle, substantial forms^ vegetative souls, ahhorrence of 
a vacuum^ are something real. The Platonists have their 
soul of the world, and the Epicureans their endeavor to- 
wards motion in their atoms. All tliis is gibberish, which, 
in the weakness of the human understanding, serves to pal- 
liate our ignorance and cover our errors.^ We must be 
content ; there are limits to our knowledge that cannot be 

Well, then, what is knowledge ? 

It is nothing but the perception of the connection and 
agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy, of any of our 
ideas. From this definition it follows that our knowledge 
does not reach further than our ideas ; nay, it is even much 
narrower than these, because the connection between most 
of our simple ideas is unknown. Hence we may affirm that, 
although our knowledge may be carried much further than 
it has hitherto been, it will never reach to all we might de- 
sire to know concerning those ideas we have, nor be able 
to resolve all the questions that might arise concerning any 
of them. Thus, we have the ideas of matter and thinking, 
but possibly shall never he able to know ivhether any mere ma- 
terial thing thinks or no ; it being impossible for us to discover 
whether Omnipotency has not given to some systems of matter 
fitly disposed^ a power to perceive and think.^ We are per- 
fectly conscious of the existence of our soul, without know- 
ing exactly what it is ; and he who will take the trouble to 
consider freely the difficulties contained in both the spirit- 
ualistic and the materialistic hypotheses, will scarce find his 
reason able to determine him fixedly for or against the souVs 
materiality. Just as we are absolutely ignorant whether 
there is any opposition or connection between extension and 
thought, matter and perception, so too it is impossible for 

1 B. III., chap. X., U. 2 la, 8 B. lY., chap. III., 6. 



US to know anything of the union or incompatibility be- 
tween the secondary qualities of an object (between its 
color, taste, and smell), on the one hand, and between any 
secondary quality and those primary qualities on which it 
depends, on the other. 

Though our knowledge does not reach further than our 
ideas and the perce^Dtion of their agreement or disagree- 
ment, and though we have no knowledge of what the things 
they represent are in themselves^ it does not follow that all 
our knowledge is illusory and chimerical. 

We have an intuitive and immediate knowledge of our 
own existence, even if we are ignorant of the metaphysical 
essence of the soul. We have a demonstrative knowledge 
of God, although our understanding cannot comprehend 
the immensity of his attributes. Finally, we know the 
other things by sensation. It is true, we do not know 
them immediately, and consequently our knowledge is real 
only so far as there is a conformity between our ideas and 
the reality of things.^ But we are not absolutely without 
a criterion for knowing whether our ideas agree with the 
things themselves. It is certain that our simple ideas cor- 
respond to external realities ; for since the mind can by no 
means make them to itself without the intervention of the 
senses (as witness men born blind), it follows that they are 
not fictions of the imagination, but the natural and regular 
productions of things without us, really operating upon us. 
The reality of external things is further proved by the fact 
that there is a very great difference between an idea that 
comes from an actual sensation and one that is revived in 
memory, and that the pleasure or pain which follows upon 
an actual sensation does not accompany the return of 
these ideas when the external objects are absent. Finally, 
our senses bear witness to tlie truth of eacli otlier's report 
concerning the existence of sensible things without us. 

1 B. IV., chap. IV., 3. 



He that sees a fire may, if he doubt whether it be anything 
more than a bare fancy, feel it too, and be convinced by 
putting his hand in it, which certainly could never be put 
into such exquisite pain by a bare idea or phantom.^ 

Let us sum up. There are no innate ideas ; no innate 
truths, maxims, or principles ; no other sources of knowl- 
edge but sensation for external things, and reflection for 
what takes place within us. Consequently, it is impos- 
sible to know anything outside of what experience, be it 
external or internal, furnishes us. Philosophy must aban- 
don the transcendent problems of substance, essence, and 
the inner constitution of things, as well as all methods 
except observation, induction, and experience. The soul 
exists, but we cannot know whether its essence is material 
or immaterial. The freedom of indifference is denied. 
God exists, but we know nothing of his nature. Outside 
of us exist solidity, extension, figure, and motion, as 
primary qualities, or such as inhere in the bodies them- 
selves. The substance of bodies is identical with the sum 
of these qualities. These qualities are distinguished from 
secondary qualities (colors, sounds, tastes, smells, etc.), 
wdiich are merely sensations of the soul j^roduced l)y the 
primary qualities of bodies, and do not exist as such in the 
objects themselves. Finally, the reality of species is abso- 
lutely denied. 

These doctrines are the culmination of the nominalistic 
movement which was inaugurated l)y Roscellinus and re- 
newed by Occam ; they likewise form the beginning of 
modern scientific philosophy. As the preceding para- 
graphs show, the teachings of Descartes and Bacon greatly 
resemble each other in many respects, particularly in the 
matter of final causes. A no less noteworthy fact, one that 
may serve as an argument against the scepticism which bases 
itself solely on the constant disagreement among philoso- 

1 B. IV., chap. XI., 7. 



phers, is the harmony existing between Locke and Spinoza, 
that is to say, between empiricism and rationalism. Locke 
agrees with his contemporary at Amsterdam not only in his 
repudiation of species, but in his denial of the liberty of 
indifference, and in his view that ethics is as susceptible of 
demonstration as mathematics. 

The name of the most illustrious scientist of the seven- 
teenth century is connected with Locke's empiricism sup- 
plemented by matlicmatical speculation. I mean Isaac 
Newton (1642-1727), the founder of celestial mechanics, 
whose Matheinatical Principles of Natural Philosophy ^ is, 
next to the Celestial Pievohttions of Copernicus, the grandest 
monument of modern science. His calculus of fluxions, 
which anticipated, or at least was discovered independently 
of, Leibniz's integral and differential calculus, his analysis 
of light, and, above all, his theory of universal gravitation, 
according to which bodies are attracted to each other in 
direct proportion to their masses and in inverse ratio to the 
squares of their distances, have exercised an incalculable 
influence upon what he calls natural philosophy. 

Locke's philosophy, with its principles of observation and 
analysis, also formed the nucleus of a distinguished school 
of English moralists. We might mention the names of: 
Shaftesbuiiy,2 Clarke,^ Hutcheson,* Ferguson,^ 

1 Naturalis pJnlo.wphue prhicipia mathemalica, London, 1687. 

2 1671-1713. [Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times, 
1711 ; ed. by AV. Hatch, 3 vols., London, 1869. See Stephen, Essays on 
FreethinJcing and PlainspeaJcing ; G. v. Gizycki, Die PJiilosophie Shaftes- 
bury's, Leipsic and Heidelberg, 1876; Th. Fowler, Shaftesbury and 
Hutcheson, London, 1882; Ernest Albee, The Relation of Shaftesbury 
and Hutcheson to Utilitarianism {Phil. Rev., V., 1). — Tr.] 

8 1675-1729. AVorks, 4 folio vols., London, 1738-1742. 

4 1694-1747. [Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and 
Virtue, London, 1725 ff. ; Philosophice moralis instilutio, Glasgow, 1745 ; A 
System of Moral Philosophy, id., 1755. See Fowler and Albee.— Tr.] 

5 1724-1816. [Institution of Moral Philosophy, London, 1769 ; tr. 
into German by Garve, Leipsic, 1772. — Tr.] 



Adam Smith,^ and many other.s.^ The freethinkers,^ who 
flourished in Great Britain and on the Continent at the end 
of this x^eriod, and the philosophers proper whom we have 
still to consider, are likewise descendants of Locke. Eng- 
lish philosophy is, to this day, almost as empirical and pos- 
itivistic as in the times of Bacon and Locke. We may 
even claim, in general, that England, though rich in think- 
ers of the highest order, has never had but a single school 
of pliilosopliy, or, rather, that it has never had any, for its 
philosophy is a perpetual protest against Scholasticism. 

§ 58. Berkeley 

After what has been said of the agreement existing be- 
tween Locke and Spinoza, it will hardly surprise us to see 
a disciple of the English philosopher offering the hand of 
friendship to Leibniz and Malebranche, the champions of 
intellectualism and innate ideas across the sea. Although 

1 1723-1790. [Theort/ of Moral Sentiments, London, 1759. CL 
Farrer, Adam Smith {English Philosophers Series'), London, 1880. — Tr.] 
Works, 5 vols., Edinbui-gh, 1812. 

2 [Cumberland, De leyihus naturce, London, 1672; by Jean 
Maxwell, id., 1727. Cf. Ernest Albee, The Ethical System of Richard 
Cumberland (Phil. Review, 1895). Joseph Butler, Sermons upon Human 
Nature, London, 1726. Cf. W. Colhns, Butler (Phil. Classics), Edin- 
burgh and London, 1889. Home, Essaijs on the Pri72ciples of Morality 
and Natural Religion, 1751. Paley, Principles of Moral and Political 
Philosophy, London, 1785. J. Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legis- 
lation, 1789. See Gizycki, Die Ethik Hume's, Breslau, 1878 ; Mackin- 
tosh, On the Progress of Ethical Philosophy chiejiy during the XVII. and 
XVI II. Centuries, ed. by W. Whewell, 4th ed., Edinburgh, 1872. — Tk.] 

3 [John Toland, Christianity not Mysterious, London, 1696. A. Col- 
lins, A Discourse of Freethinking, London, 1713. M. Tindal, Christian- 
ity as Old as the Creation, London, 1730. Thomas Chubb, A Discourse 
concerning Reason with Regard to Religion, London, 1730. T. Morgan, 

Moral Philosopher, London, 1737 ff. Lord Bolingbroke, Works 
ed. by D. MoUet, 5 vols., 1753-54. Cf . on the deists, V. Lechler, Ge- 
schichte des englischen Deismus, Stuttgart, 1841 ; Hunt, History of Re- 
ligious Thought in England, London, 1871-73; and Leslie Stephen's 
work cited p. 12, note 11. — Tk.] 



Locke and his opponents differ on several essential points, 
they reach practically the same conclusions concerning the 
world of sense. Malebranche and Leibniz spiritualize mat- 
ter; they explain it as a confused idea, and ultimately 
assume a principle endowed with desire and perception, 
that is, mind. Locke's criticism, on the other hand, does 
not wholly reject the material world ; one half of it is re- 
tained. Extension, form, and motion exist outside of us ; 
but neither colors, nor sounds, nor tastes, nor smells exist 
independently of our sensations. Moreover, Locke attacks 
the traditional notion of substance, or substratum, and de- 
fines real substance as a combination of qualities. Indeed, 
he goes so far as to say that the idea of corporeal substance 
or matter is as remote from our conceptions and apprehen- 
sions as that of spiritual substance or spirit ! ^ Hence, all 
that was needed to arrive at the negation of matter or abso- 
lute spiritualism was to efface the distinction which he had 
drawn between primary and secondary qualities, and to call 
all sensible qualities, witljout excejition, secondary. 

This is done by George Berkeley, who thus enters 
upon a course against whicli Locke had advised in vain. 
Berkeley was born in Ireland, 1685, of English ancestors, 
became Bishop of Cloyne, 1734, and died at Oxford, 
1753. The following are his most important works : Essay 
toivards a New Theory of Vision,'^ Treatise on the Principles 
of Human Knoivledge^^ Three Dialogues betiveen Hylas and 
Fhilonous,^ Alciphron, or the Minute Philosop^her.^ 

1 Essay concerning Human Understanding, II., ch. XXIII., 5. 

2 Dublin, 1709. This remarkable treatise clearly anticipates the 
modern principles of the physiology of sensation. 

3 Dublin, 1710. [Krauth's ed.,'l871.] 

^ London, 1713. [Calcutta, 1893.] French, Amsterdam, 1750; 
German, Rostock, 1756. 

5 London, 1732 ; French, The Hague, 1734 ; German, Lemgo, 1737. 
The works of G. Berkeley, London, 1781, 1820, 1843, 1871. This last 
edition, published in 4 vols., by A. Campbell Fraser, is the most com- 



Locke recognizes, with Descartes and Hobbes, that color 
is nothing apart from the sensation of the person seeing it, 
that sonnd exists only for the hearing, that taste and smell 
are mere sensations, and do not inhere in the things them- 
selves. But in addition to such secondary qualities, which 
do not inhere in the objects but in the perceiving subject, . 
he assumes primary qualities existing without the mind and 
belonging to an unthinking substance; extension, figure, J 
and motion. And that is where he is wrong. Just as color, 
smell, and taste exist only for the person perceiving them, 
so extension, form, and motion exist only in a mind that 
perceives them. Take away the perceiving subject, and you 
take away the sensible world. Existence consists in per- 
ceiving or being perceived. That Avhich is not perceived 
and does not perceive does not exist. The objects do not 
exist apart from the subjects perceiving them. According 
to the common view, these objects — houses, mountains, and 
rivers — have an existence, natural or real, distinct from 
their being perceived by the understanding, and our ideas 
of them are copies or resemblances of all these things with- 
out us. Now, says Berkeley,^ either those external objects i 
or originals of our ideas are perceivable, or they are not / 
perceivable. If they are, then they are ideas (for an idea 
= something perceived). In tliat case, there is no differ- 
ence between objects assumed to be without us and our 
ideas of them ; and " we have gained our point." " If you 
say they are not, I appeal to any one whether it be sense to 
assert a color is like something which is invisible ; hard 
or soft, like something which is intangible ; and so of the 

plete. [^Selections from Berkeley, with introduction and notes, by A. 
Campbell Fraser, 4tli ed. (revised), 1891. Cf. T. C. Simon, Universal 
Immaterialism, London, 1862 ; Controversy between Ueberweg and 
Simon, in Fichte's Z.f. Ph., vol. 55, 1869; vol. 57, 1870 ; vol. 59, 1871 ; 
A. C. Fraser, Berkeley (Philosophical Classics'), Edinburgh and Lon- 
don, 1881. — Tr.] 

1 Principles of Human Knowledge, § 8. 



rest." Hence, there is no real difference between things 
and our ideas of them. The words sensible thing and idea 
are synonymous. 

Our ideas, or the things which we perceive, are visibly 
inactive. It is impossible for an idea to do anything, or to 
be the cause of anything. Hence, spirit or thinkino- su b- 
stance alone can be the cause of ideas (sensible things). A 
spirit is one simple, undivided, active "Being, it per- 
cei ves ideas, it is_cal led the u nder staiiciing^ and a s iTpr oduces 
or ot herwis e_o perates^ about them, it is called will. Now 
all ideas (perceived things) being essentially passive, and 
spirit eminently active, it follows that we cannot, strictly 
speaking, have an idea of spirit, Avill, or soul ; at any rate, 
we cannot form as clear an idea of it as of a triangle, for 
example. Inasmuch as the idea is absolutely passive and 
spirit the very essence of activity, the idea of syirit is a 
contradiction in^terms, and no more like spirit than night 
is like the day.^ 

In so far as mind perceives ideas it produces things ; and 
these are not two distinct operations : to perceive signifies 
•'to produce, and the ideas are the things themselves. Never- 
theless, the objects which I perceive have not a like de- 
pendence on my will. Nay, very many of them do not 
depend on it at all. When in broad daylight I open my 
eyes, it is not in my power to choose whether I shall see or 
no, or to determine Avhat particular objects shall present 
themselves to my view." There is therefore — thus Berke - 
ley proves the existen ce of God — some other will that 

^ Berkeley repeatedly points out the impossibility of forming an 
adequate idea of spiritual things, such as spirit, soul, or will, and he 
explains this by the radical difference existing between spirit, the 
t essentially active thing, and idea, the essentially passive thing (Prin- 
' ciples of Human Knowledge, §§ 27, 89, 135). He likewise insists on the 
necessity of clearly distinguishing between spii^it and idea, thus con- 
tradicting Spinoza, who regards them as synonyms (id., § 139). 



produces them, a more powerful spirit that imprints them 
upon us. ''Now the set rules or established methods 
wherein the Mind we depend on excites in us the ideas of 
sense, are called the laws of nahore ; and these we learn by 
experience. . . . The ideas imprinted on the senses by the 
Author of nature are commonly called real things ; and those 
excited in the imagination being less regular, vivid, and 
constant, are more properly termed ideas or images of things. 
The ideas of sense are allowed to have more in them, that 
is, to be more strong, orderly, and coherent, than the creat- 
ures of the mind ; but tliis is no argument that they exist 
without the mind." 

To the objection that this makes the sensible world, with 
its sun, stars, mountains, and rivers, a chimera or an illu- 
sion, Berkeley answers that he does not in the least doubt 
the existence of things. He is even willing to accept the 
term corporeal substance if we mean by it a combination of 
sensible qualities, such as extension, solidity, weight, and 
the like. But he utterly repudiates the scholastic notion 
which conceives matter as a substratum or support of acci- 
dents or qualities without the mind perceiving them, as a 
stupid,, thoughtless somewhat., which can neither perceive nor 
be perceived, existing alongside of, and independent of, the 
thinking substance. ^ The objection that, according to his 
principles, we eat and drink ideas, and are clothed with 
ideas, is not more serious than the preceding one. It over- 
looks the fact that he emjDloys the word idea., not in its 
usual signification, but in the sense of perceived thing. But 
it is certain that our victuals and our apparel are things 
which we perceive immediately by our senses, that is, ideas. 
Finally, it is held that, according to his teaching, the sun, 
moon, and trees exist only when they are perceived, and 
are annihilated when we no longer perceive them. They 
would undoubtedly cease to exist if there were no one to 

1 Principles of Human Knowledge, § 75. 



perceive them ; for existence consists in being perceived or 
in perceiving. But if our mind cannot perceive them, an- 
other spirit can perceive them or continue their existence, 
so to speak ; for though Berkeley denies the objective exist- 
ence of bodies, he assumes a plurality of spiritual beings. 

It is true, mankind and even philosophers steadfastly 
assume the existence of matter. The explanation is simple. 
They are conscious that they are not the authors of their 
own sensations, and evidently know that they are imprinted 
from without. They have recourse to the hypothesis of 
matter as tlie external origin of their ideas, instead of de- 
riving them directly from the Creative Spirit which alone 
can produce them, (1) because they are not aware of the 
contradiction involved " in supposing things like unto our 
ideas existing without; (2) because the Supreme Spirit, 
which excites those ideas in our minds, is not marked out 
and limited to our view by any particular finite collection 
of sensible ideas, as human agents are by their size, complex- 
ion, limbs, and motions ; and (3) because his operations are 
regular and uniform. Whenever the course of nature is 
interrupted by a miracle, men are ready to own the presence 
of a superior agent. But when we see things go on in the 
ordinary course they do not excite in us any reflection." 

The negation of matter as a substance without the mind 
silences a number of difficult and obscure questions : Can 
a corporeal substance think ? Is matter infinitely divisible ? 
How does it operate on sj)irit ? These and the like inquir- 
ies are entirely banished from philosophy. The division of 
sciences is simplified, and human knowledge reduced to two 
great classes : knowledge of ideas and knowledge of spirits.^ 
Moreover, this philosophy is alone capable of overcoming 
scepticism. If we assume, with the ancient schools, that a 

1 Principles of Human Knowledge, § 86. Berkeley afterwards (§ 89) 
adds a third group of knowledge : that of relations existing either be- 
tween things or ideas (physical sciences and mathematical sciences). 



substance exists without tlie mind, and that our ideas are 
images of it, then scepticism is inevitable. On that hypoth- 
esis, we see only the appearances, and not the real qualities 
of things. What may be the extension, figure, or motion 
of anything really and absolutely, or in itself^ it is impos- 
sible for us to know ; we know only the relations which 
things bear to our senses. All we see, hear, and feel is but 
a phantom. All these doubts are inevitable as soon as we 
distinguish between ideas and tilings.^ 

The absolute spiritualism of Berkeley is a unitary, homo- 
geneous system, unquestionably superior to the hybrid phi- 
losophies of Descartes and Wolff. Nay, it is, in my opinion, 
the only metaphysic that may be successfully opposed to 
materialism, for it alone takes into consideration the partial 
truth of its objections.2 It overcomes the dualism of sub- 
stances, and thus satisfies the most fundamental demand of 
the philosophical spirit, — the demand for unity. In this 
respect it has all the advantages of radical materialism 
without being hampered by its difficulties. It greatly re- 
sembles the system of Leibniz, but excels it in clearness, 
consistency, boldness, and decision. Leibniz's opinions on 
matter, space, and time are undecided, conciliatory, and 
even obscure. Berkeley shows no sign of hesitation. An 
earnest and profoundly honest thinker, he tells us, in a 
straightforward manner, that the existence of matter is an 
illusion ; that time is nothing, abstracted from the succes- 
sion of ideas in our minds ; ^ that space cannot exist with- 
out the mind;* that minds alone exist; and that these 

1 Kant's conclusions fully confirm these profound remarks of 
Berkeley {Principles, §§ 85 ff.). It was because the Critique of Pure 
Reason asserted the dogma combated by the Irish philosopher (tbe 
thing-in-itself considered as existing independently of the phenomenon) 
that it became involved in scepticism. 

2 Cf. our conclusions in § 71. 

^ Principles, § 98. 4 M, § 116. 



perceive ideas either by themselves or through the action 
of the all-powerful Spirit on which they depend.^ 

But besides these advantages, his philosophy also posses- 
ses disadvantages. We need not repeat the petty objection 
of his supposed adversaries, who make him say that we eat 
and drink ideas and are clothed with ideas. We may, how- 
ever, ask. What, on his theory, becomes of the vegetable 
and animal kingdoms, which the more realistic Leibniz re- 
gards as having objective existence ? If it be true that 
unperceiving and unperceived things do not exist, what 
becomes of the soul in deep sleep ? If the picture opposite 
to my bed exists only because I see it, what minds perceive 
it after I have gone to sleep, and thus hinder it from ceas- 
ing to exist ? How shall we picture to ourselves a plurality 
of human individuals, if space exists in the mind only ? 
How does Berkeley know that there are other minds than 
his own ? How, moreover, does the creative Spirit produce 
sensible ideas m us ? All these points and many others re- 
main unexplained ; for his deus ex machina explains nothing, 
and his theory of intervention is of no more avail than oc- 
casionalism and pre-established harmony. He is both a 
thorough-going theologian and a philosopher ; his interests 
are both scientific and religious, and he attacks materialism ^ 
not only as a theoretical error but as the source of the most 
serious heresies.^ 

1 Principles, § 155. 

2 By materialism Berkeley understands not only the negation of 
spiritual substance, but the view that there exists, independently of the 
mind, a substance, or substratum, of sensible qualities, which it per- 
ceives. To assume the reality of matter is enough to stamp one as a 
materialist in the Berkeleyan sense. 

8 §§ 133 ff, — A system wholly similar to that of Berkeley was taught 
by his contemporary and colleague, the churchman Arl,hur Collier 
(1080-1732), a disciple of Malebranche and author of Clavis universalis^, 
or a New Inquiry after Truths Being a Demonstration of the Non-existence 
or fmpossihilily of an External World, T.ondon, 1713. [See G. Lyon, Un 
idealiste Anglais an XVIII'. siMe (Revue pUl. vol. 10, 1880). — Tr.] 



§ 59. Condillac 

The philosophy of Locke was introduced into France by 
Voltaire.^ Here it found an original follower in the abbot 
Etienne Bonnot de Condillac,^ the founder of absolute 

Locke distinguishes two sources of ideas : sensation and 
reflection, while Condillac, in his TraiU des sensations rec- 
ognizes but one, making reflection a product of sensibility. 
His proof is ingenious. He imagines a statue, which is 
organized and alive, like ourselves, but hindered by its 
marble exterior from having sensations. Its intellectual and 
moral life advances as the various parts of this covering are 

Let us first remove the marble covering its olfactory 
organs. Now the statue has only the sense of smell, and 
cannot, as yet, perceive anything but odors. It cannot 
acquire any idea of extension, form, sound, or color. A 

1 1694-1778. Lettres sur les Anglais, 1728; £lemenls de la philoso- 
pTiie de Newton, mis d la portee de tout le monde, Amsterdam, 1738 ; La 
metaphysique de Neivton ou parallele des sentiments de Neivton et de Leib- 
niz, Amsterdam, 1740 ; Candide ou sur Voptimisme, 1757 ; Le philosopJie 
ignorant^ 1767. Simultaneously with these writings of Voltaire, the 
Entretiens sur la pluralite des mondes of Fontenelle (1657-1757), and 
the works of Maupertuis (1698-1759) made known to the French the 
labors of Copernicus and Newton, which were continued by Lagrange 
and Laplace (page 11). [On eighteenth century philosophy in France 
see Damiron, M^moires pour servir a Vhistoire de la philosophie au X VII L 
siecle, 3 vols., Paris, 1858-64 ; and Bartholniess (p. 12). On Voltaire 
see the works of Bersot, Strauss, John Morley, Desnoiresterres, and 
Mayr. — Tr.] 

2 Born at Grenoble, 1715; tutor of the Prince of Parma; abbot of 
Mureaux; died 1780. Besides the Traite des sensations (1754), he pro- 
duced the following works : Essai sur Vorigine des connaissances humaines 
(1746); Traite des systhnes (1749)', Traite' des animaux, 17 oo ; Logique 
(posthumous, 1781) ; Langue des animaux (posthumous). Complete 
works, Paris, 1798 ; 1803, 32 vols, in 12mo. F. Rethor^, Condillac ou 
Vempirisme et le rationalisme, Paris, 1864. 



rose is placed before it. From the impression produced by- 
it, a sensation of smell arises. Henceforth it is, from our 
point of view, a statue that smells a rose ; in reality, how- 
ever, it is nothing but the odor of this flower. The statue 
does not and cannot, as yet, possess the slightest notion of 
an ohject ; it does not know itself as the subject of sensa- 
tion ; its consciousness, its " me," is nothing but the scent 
of the rose, or rather, what we call the scent of the rose. 

Since this impression and the resulting sensation is the 
only thing with which our statue is occupied, that single 
sensation becomes attention. 

We take away the rose. Our statue retains a trace, or 
an echo, as it were, of the odor perceived. This trace or 
echo is memory. 

We place a violet, a jasmine, and some asafoetida before 
the statue. Its first sensation, the odor of the rose, was 
neither agreeable nor disagreeable, there being nothing to 
compare it with. But now other impressions and other 
sensations arise. These it compares with its memory 
images. It finds some agreeable, others disagreeable. 
Henceforth the statue desires the former, and rejects the 
latter. Towards these it entertains feelings of aversion, 
hatred, and fear, towards those, feelings of sympathy, affec- 
tion, and hope. That is to say, from the sensations experi- 
enced by it, and their comparison, arise the passions, desires, 
and volitions. I will sig^nifies / desire. The will is not a 
new faculty added to sensibility ; it is a transformation ot 
sensation ; sensation becomes desire and impulse after 
having been attention, memory, comparison, pleasure, and 

From comparison, that is, from the multiplication of 
sensations, arise, on the other hand, judgment, reflection, 
reasoning, abstraction, in a word, the understanding. Our 
statue perceives disagreeable odors, and at the same time 
recalls other odors which gave it pleasure ; these past sen- 



sations reappear in opposition to the present sensation, not 
as immediate sensations, but as copies or images of these 
sensations, that is, as ideas. It directs the attention to two 
different ideas and compares them. When there is double 
attention, there is comparison ; for to be attentive to two 
ideas, and to compare them, is the same thing. Now, the 
statue cannot compare two ideas without perceiving some 
difference or resemblance between them : to perceive such 
relations is to judge. The acts of comparison and judgment 
are therefore merely attention ; it is thus that sensation be- 
comes successively attention, comparison, and judgment. 

Some odors, that is, some of the states experienced by the 
statue, yielded pleasure, others yielded pain. Hence it will 
retain in memory the ideas of pleasure and pain common to 
several states or sensations. Pleasure is a quality common 
to the rose-sensation, the violet-sensation, and the jasmine- 
sensation; pain is a quality common to the odor of asa- 
foetida, deca3'ing matter, etc. These common characteristics 
are distinguished, separated, abstracted^ from the particular 
sensations with which they are associated, and thus arise 
the abstract notions of pleasure, pain, number, duration, etc. 
These are general ideas, being common to several states or 
modes of being of the statue. We do not need a special 
faculty to explain them. Abstraction itself, the highest 
function of the understanding, is a modification of sensa- 
tion, which, consequently, embraces all the faculties of the 
souL The inner perception, or the 7ne, is merely the snm of 
the sensations loe now have, and those which ivc have had. 

Condillac endows his statue with a single sense, — the 
sense of smell, — and then evolves all mental faculties out 
of sensation.^ Any one of the five senses would have 
served his purjDOse equally well. 

1 Condillac's object in choosing the least important of the five senses 
is plain. If the sense of smell suffices to make a complete soul, then, 
a fortiori, the combination of all five senses, or the total sensibility, 
will suffice. 26 



If now, we join to smell : taste, hearing, and sight, by 
taking away one marble covering after another, then tastes, 
sounds, and colors will be added to the odors perceived by 
the statue, and its intellectual life will become so much 
richer, more manifold, and complex. 

There is, however, an essential idea which neither smell, 
nor taste, nor hearing, nor eAmi sights can yield, and that is 
the idea of an object^ the idea of an external world. Colors, 
sounds, odors, and tastes ai-e mere sensations or states, not, 
as yet, referred to external objects. Before external causes 
can be substituted for its sensations, the statue must be en- 
dowed with the most important of all senses : the sense of 
touch. Touch alone can reveal to us the objective world, 
by giving us the ideas of extension, form, solidity, and body. 
Even sight cannot suggest them. Persons born blind can- 
not, upon receiving their sight, distinguish between a ball 
and a block, a cube and a sphere, until they toitch these 
objects.^ Only after having touched things do we refer the 
impressions received by our other senses, such as colors, 
sounds, tastes, and smells, to objects existing outside of us. 
Hence, touch is the highest sense, and the guide of the 
other senses ; it is touch which teaches the eye to distribute 
colors in nature. 

Conclusion and summary : All our ideas, without excep- 
tion, are derived from the senses, and especially from touch. 

Though Condillac is a sensationalist, and a sensationalist 
in the strict sense of the term, he is not, on that account, a 
materialist.^ He differs from Locke, who grants that mat- 

^ Allusion to Cheselden's celebrated operation. 

2 Sensationalism is usually, but erroneously, confused with materi- 
alism. Sensationalism is a theory concerning the origin of our ideas, 
an explanation of the phenomenon of mind (eine Erkenntnisstheorie, as 
the Germans would say), while materialism is an ontology, a system of 
metaphysics. Sensationalism and materialism are undoubtedly closely 
related, for materialism is necessarily sensational. But the reverse is 
not true. 



ter can think, and agrees with the Cartesians that com- 
pounds cannot think, and consequently that the subject of 
sensation cannot be corporeal in its nature. The move- 
ments of the body are, according to him, merely occasional 
causes of mental phenomena. Moreover, it is not certain 
that the body is an extended substance, as Descartes claims. 
But even if there tvere no real extension, that ivould not he a 
sufficient reason for denying the existence of bodies. Hence 
the negation of extension as such does not, according to 
Condillac, involve the acceptance of the immaterialism of 
Berkeley. He agrees with Leibniz that bodies might really 
exist and yet not be extended in themselves, that their es- 
sence might consist of something other than extension, and 
that this might be merely a subjective phenomenon, or a 
mode of perceiving them. At all events, there is something 
other than ourselves ; that cannot be doubted. But what 
may be the nature of this " other thing," the statue does not 
know, nor do we know. That is, Condillac, the consistent 
disciple of Locke, is a sceptic in metaphysics, but his scep- 
ticism does not, as we have just seen, call in question the 
existence of matter, nor, consequently, materialism, using 
the term in the Berkeleyan sense. If to assume the reality 
of matter is to be a materialist, then, of course, he is a ma- 
terialist. But in that case, Descartes is also a materialist. 
Moreover, he too, like Descartes, curries favor with the 
Church, which, in his capacity as a priest, he dare not 
openly antagonize. True, the human soul is merely the 
recipient of sense-impressions, and devoid of all faculties of 
knowledge except sensation ; it is nothing but a prolonged 
and infinitely modified sensation. But that does not mean, 
he intimates, that it has always been restricted to sensation 
as the source of truth : its present nature dates from the 
Fall. Perhaps it was endowed with a higher faculty before 
the Fall. All we can say is that this is no longer the case. 

It is hard to take these restrictions of the abbe of Mu- 
reaux seriously. 



§ 60. Progress of Materialism i 

The empirical school's contempt for metaphysics refers 
only to the dualistic metaphysics, and not to the system of 
Hobbes, Gassendi, and Democritus. Philosophy gradually 
abandoned dualism. It might have adopted the immateri- 
alism of Berkeley and Collier ; but this hypothesis, though 
satisfying the monistic instinct, had against it the evidence 
of facts and the native realism of the French and English 
minds. Hence, philosophy continued, in spite of Berkeley, 
to concede primary qualities to bodies. True, tastes, smells, 
colors, sounds, and temperature are nothing but sensations 
of the subject which perceives them, and do not exist, as 
such, in the things themselves and outside of us. But ex- 
tension, impenetrability, figure, motion, etc., are primary 
qualities, i. e., inherent in a reality external to and inde- 
pendent of our perception, and of these qualities bodies, or 
matter, are composed. Hence, the latter has objective real- 
ity, and does not owe its existence to our sensation, i. e., to 
the mind, as Berkeley claimed. 

The belief in the objective and absolute existence of 
bodies persisted. Hobbes's assertion that all substances are 
bodies, and the hypothesis of Locke, according to which 
matter can think, seemed less presumptuous when Leibniz, 
repudiating the Cartesian teaching, substituted for extended 
matter, matter endowed with force,^ a kind of intermediate 
reality, or connecting link between brutal matter and pure 
spirit. This conception made it possible for one to assume 
a real and physical action of body on mind, without fear of 
materializing spirit. Experience, moreover, on whose ter- 
ritory the new philosophy had firmly established itself for 
all time to come, advanced the cause of materialism by its 

^ See Damiron, Memoires pour servir d llmtoire de la philosophie au 
dix-huilieme siecle, §§ 8 ff. 
'-^ Cf. pp. 34G f. 



emphatic declaration that body acts on mind, and that the 
mental world depends on the physical Avorld. 

John Toland (1670-1721), a fellow-countryman of 
Berkeley, whose genius, character, and fate remind one of 
Bruno and Vanini, becomes the champion of materialism in 
his Letters to Serena^ and his Pantheist icon (1710). Matter 
is not, according to him, the " extended substance " of Des- 
cartes, an inert, lifeless mass that receives its motion from 
a transcendent deity ; it is an active substance, that is, force. 
Extension, impenetrability, and action are three distinct 
notions, but not three different things; they are simply 
three different modes of conceiving one and the same mat- 
ter.2 Matter is originally and necessarily active, and hence 
does not receive its motion from without; motion is its 
essential and inseparable property, — as essential and in- 
separable as extension and impenetrability. Since matter 
as such is force, motion, and life, we do not need either a 
soul of the world, in order to explain universal life, or an 
individual soul as the source of psychical life and the vital 
principle of the organic body. The hylozoistic and vital- 
istic hypothesis is based on the erroneous conception that 
matter is inert, that it is merely the theatre and the means, 
and never the source, of action. The abandonment of this 
false view will result in the collapse of the dualistic theory. 
Body ceases to be a substance that cannot think, and soul or 
mind is simply one of its functions. Furthermore, thought 
does not belong to substance in general, as Spinoza assumes ; ^ 
matter, though active, is unconscious in itself, and becomes 

1 Letters to Serena (Serena is Queen Sopliia Charlotte of Prussia, 
the friend of Leibniz, at whose court Toland lived from 1701-1702), 
followed by a Refutation of Spinoza, and a treatise on movement as the 
essential property of matter (London, 1704). [Cf. G. Berthold, John 
Toland und der Monismus der Gegenwart, Heidelberg, 1876 ] 

2 Letters to Serena, pp. 230 ff. 

3 Deus est res cogilans {Eth., II., Prop. 2). 



conscious only in the brain (a view already held by Uemo- 
critus). There can be no thought without a brain ; thought 
is the function of this organ, as taste is a function of tha 

Less bold in form but the same in substance are the con- 
clusions of the Observations on Man^ the work of the phy- 
sician and naturalist David Hartley (1704-1757). There 
can be no thought without a brain. The brain is not the 
thinking subject; the soul is the thinking subject. But 
though the soul is entirely distinct from the body, it cannot 
be regarded as essentially different from corporeal substance. 
The action of the brain on thought is established by the 
facts, and proves conclusively that matter and mind differ 
in degree and not in essence, for there can be no reciprocal 
action between two essentially different substances. The 
so-called material world represents an ascending scale of 
substances, or rather forces ; these become more and more 
refined and spiritualized, as we pass from mineral masses to 
light. The distance from the stone to the luminous agent 
is so great that one is tempted to oppose the latter to the 
former as spiritual substances are opposed to material 
substances. And yet no serious thinker would dream of 
removing optical phenomena from the domain of physics. 
The infinitely subtile, refined, and intangible substance 
called light is none the less nlatter. Why, then, should we 
Aot assume that the above-mentioned series continues be- 
yond ether, and finally ends in thought or soul ? This 
mental agent is so far removed from light, in fineness and 
mobility, as the latter is from the stone and wood, without 
on that account ceasing to he matter. 

^ Pantheisticon, p. 15. 

2 Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations, 
London, 1749 ; 6th ed., 1834. [Cf. G. S. Bower, Hartley and James 
Mill (Engl. Philosophers), London, 1881 ; B. Schoenlank, Hartley und 
Priestley, die Begrilnder des Associationismus in England, Halle, 1882. 



The white medullary substance of the brain and the spinal 
marrow constitute the seat of sensation and the source of 
voluntary motion. Every modification of this substance is 
accompanied by a corresponding modification in our soul- 
life. The modifications of the cerebral and nervous sub- 
stance, corresponding to those of the soul, are vibrations or 
" tremblings " produced by external excitations and trans- 
mitted through the sensory nerves to the central portion of 
the brain. The nervous substance, which may be perceived 
by our senses and experimented on, most probably contains 
an infinitely subtile and mobile fluid, which might be iden- 
tified with electricity ^ and ether. The vibrations of tliis 
fluid or ether cause sensations. When these vibrations are 
reproduced a certain number of times, they leave traces ; 
these traces are our ideas. Our soul-life depends entirely 
on the association of these ideas, which, in turn, depends 
on the association of sensations, i. e., vibrations of ether or 
nervous fluid. True, these vibrations are not, as yet, sen- 
sations ; they affect the body, and sensations affect the soul ; 
they belong to the domain of physiology, and sensations 
belong to the domain of psychology. But the fact that the 
latter are effects of the former conclusively proves that cor- 
poreal substance is analogous, if not identical, with think- 
ing substance. 

Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), theologian, philosopher, 
and naturalist, to whom we are indebted for the discovery 
of oxygen,^ considers, in his Disquisitions relating to Matter 
and Spirit.,^ the proofs of his predecessors, ancient as well 

1 As has been done, in our century, by the Berlin scientist, E. du 

2 Thus named by Lavoisier, who recognized it as one of the essen- 
tial elements of atmospheric air. 

^ London, 1777. [The Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity, London, 
1777 ; Free Discussions of the Doctrines of Materialism, London, 1778. 



as modern, in favor of the materiality of the soul, and adds 
some arguments of his own : 

1. If the soul is an inextended substance, it does not 
really exist in space ; for to be in space is to occupy a por- 
tion of it, be it never so small. Hence the soul is not in 
the body : such is the absurd conclusion which Cartesian 
spiritualism compels us to draw. 

2. Priiicipia non sunt 7mdiiplica7ida prceter necessitatem. 
Now, there is no need of assuming for thought a new and 
essentially different principle from the principles by which 
science explains the phenomena of light, electricity, etc., 
which show striking similarities with ps^^chical phenomena. 

3. The development of the soul runs parallel with that 
of the body, on which it wholly depends. 

4. There is not a single idea of which the mind is pos- 
sessed but what may be proved to have come to it from the 
bodily senses, or to have been consequent upon the percep- 
tions of sense. 

5. Our ideas of external objects, — the idea of a tree, for 
example, — consist of parts, like their objects. How is it 
possible that such ideas should exist in an indivisible and 
absolutely simple soul ? 

6. The soul ripens and declines. How can an absolutely 
simple being without parts be increased, modified, or dimin- 
ished ? 

7. If man has an immaterial soul, every animal, which 
feels, perceives, remembers, combines, and judges, must 
have one also. 

8. What is the use of the body, and why is the soul as- 
sociated with it, if it can feel, think, and act independently 
of it? 

9. Spiritualism claims that an extended being cannot 
think. But is it not still more inconceivable that an inex- 
tended entity — a simple mathematical point — should 
contain an infinite number of ideas, feelings, and volitions, 



as the human soul does? The soul is a reality no less 
manifold than the universe which it reflects. 

10. The will is determined by motives, reasons, and argu- 
ments. Hence, spiritualism objects, if the soul is material, 
matter is moved by motives, reasons, and arguments. 
But the matter which materialism invests with the faculty 
of thinking is not the gross and inert mass which it is at 
first supposed to be ; it is the ether, that mysterious agent 
which we know only by its manifestations, but which we 
assume to be the basis of intellectual phenomena as well as 
of extension, impenetrability, and movement. Besides, it 
may be said, in answer to the spiritualists, that if the theory 
of " matter influenced by motives " is objectionable to them, 
their "simple substance influenced by an extended sub- 
stance " (in sensation and perception) is no less objection- 
able to the materialistic thinker. 

11. If the soul, says spiritualism, is composed of parts, 
atoms (or, as we should say nowadays, of living cells of 
gray cortical substance) , how can it be felt as a unity ? 
How does it become conscious of the me ? ^ This feeling, 
this perception of the unity which is called the ego^ is con- 
ceivable only in a real individual, in a unity, monad, or 
atom, and not in a sum of monads, atoms, or individuals, 
not in the whole nervous system. For a sum or whole is 
merely an idea, a mental being; its parts alone have real 
existence (nominalism). Hence these (the monads, atoms, 
or individuals making up the nervous system) can feel 
themselves, each for itself and separately, as unities or I's ; 
but the nervous system, the whole, cannot, for the whole is 
not an individual, an objective and existing reality. This, 
as Priestley himself confesses,^ is the strongest, and, in fact, 

^ In a word : How can the one arise, from the many ? 

2 [I cannot find anything in the Disquisitions to prove this state- 
ment. What Priestley does say is this : " This argument has been 
• much hackneyed, and much confided in by metaphysicians ; but, for 
my part, I cannot perceive the least force in it." (p. 118.) — Tu.] 



the only serious argument that spiritualism can oppose.^ 
How can the one arise from the many ? He declares that 
he cannot explain the difficulty, but that, if it really is a 
difficulty, it exists for spiritualism as well. Psychological 
consciousness is nothing but plurality reduced to unity, or 
unity derived from plurality, or, in a word, the synthesis 
of the one and the many, i. e., an inexplicable mystery. 
Spiritualism is as unable to tell how a multitude of ideas, 
feelings, and volitions can constitute the unity of self, as 
materialism is powerless to explain how a multitude of 
atoms can form a unity. Hence, spiritualism has no ad- 
vantage over its adversary in this respect. 

12. It is objected that the soul wars against the body, 
that it is possessed of a self-moving power, while the body 
needs a foreign mechanical impulse, that the body alone be- 
comes weary and never the soul ; finally, that, if the human 
soul is material, God himself ceases to be a pure spirit. 
Priestley replies that there are also conflicts between the 
different tendencies of the soul, and yet that spiritualism 
does not dream of referring each of these tendencies to a 
principle or a different substance ; that the body is not in- 
ert, as was believed before the days of Leibniz, and that no 
substance is without force ; that thought fags and exhausts 
the brain, which is refreshed in sleep ; finally, that we cannot 
extend our reasonings concerning finite beings to the infin- 
ite, but that the " materiality " of God is more consistent 
with the dogma of omnipresence than the opposite view. 

Priestley appeals to the Bible, and believes that his sys- 
tem can be reconciled with Christianity and even with 
Calvinism. 2 French materialism, however, does not share 

1 Albert Lange shares this view. In his History of Materialism^ he 
holds that the above argument hits the weak spot in materialism. 

2 There is, indeed, a connecting link between Priestley's system 
and the reformed dogma : we mean their common opposition to inde- 
terminism. Indeterministic and Pelagian Catholicism offers material* 
ism no such support. 



these illusions. In the Testament de Jean Afeslier,^ which 
Voltaire made public, we find the bold utterances of To- 
land repeated. The same may be said of the writings 
of the physician, Julien Offroy de la Mettrie 2 (1709- 
1751), who was one of the first outspoken materialists in 
France. Curiously enough, this leader of the opponents 
of spiritualism is a disciple, not of Toland, but of the man 
whom French spiritualism recognizes as its head : Des- 
cartes. We must remember that Descartes was not only 
the author of the Meditations and the dualistic hypothesis, 
but that he wrote the Treatise on the Passions of the Soul^ 
and founded the modern mechanical theory. Descartes not 
only proved the existence of God and the spirituality of 
the soul,^ but also showed " how all the limhs can be moved 
by the objects of the senses and by the spirits without the 
AID OF THE SOUL;"* that it resides in the pineal gland; 
that memory presupposes cerebral impressions ; that animals 
are machines ; that the intellectual phenomena which we 
discover in them can and must be mechanically explained. 
The advance from the animal-machine of Descartes to the 
homme-machine is slight; and La Mettrie makes it. If 
the animal can feel, perceive, remember, compare, and 
judge, without the aid of an immaterial soul, simply by 
means of its nervous and cerebral organization, there is no 
reason why we should concede a soul to man, whose sensi- 
bility, will, and understanding are merely more highly 

1 A cure of ^fitrepigny in Champagne, died 1733. T estament de 
/. Meslier, published in 3 vols., with a preface and a biographical 
introduction, by R, Charles, Amsterdam, 1865. 

2 Histoire naturelle de Vdme, The Hague (Paris), 1745; UHomme- 
machine, Leyden, 1748; L' Homme-plante, Paris, 1748. Works of La 
Mettrie, London (Berlin), 1751. [Cf. Lange, History of Materialism.'] 

3 These "errors" are, in La Mettrie's opinion, nothing but "a 
trick to make the theologians swallow the poison of mechanism. 
The animal-machine is Descartes's grandest discovery." 

* Passions de Vdme, I., Art. 16. 



developed animal functions. Man is not an exception ; he 
does not form a separate and privileged caste in universal 
nature. The laws of nature are the same for all. There 
can be no difference in this respect between men, brutes, 
plants, and animals. Man is a machine, but a more com- 
plicated machine than the animal : " he is to the ape or the 
most intelligent animals, what Huyghens's planetary pen- 
dulum is to a watch made by Julien Leroy." 

This developed animal did not fall from the clouds, nor 
did it arise, ready-made, from the bowels of the earth. It 
is not the work of a supernatural creator, the realization of 
an idea : it owes its origin to a natural evolution Avhich 
gradually evolves more and more perfect forms from the 
elementary organisms. The human species is no more a 
separate creation than the other animal and vegetable spe- 
cies ; its present form has been evolved from lower animal 
forms, slowly and by progressive stages. The evolutionistic 
and trarisformistic conception, familiar to ancient philoso- 
phy,^ reappears, in various forms, but wholly conscious of 
its aims, in the Pensees sur V interpretation de la nature of 
Denis Diderot,^ in the work, De la nature^ of Robinet,^ 
in the Palingenesie philosophique of Charles de Bonnet,* 

1 We found it in Anaximander, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and 

2 Born at Paris, 1713; died 1784. The founder of the Encydo- 
pedie (Dictiontiaire raisonne des arts, des sciences et des metiers. Par 
une sociele de gens de lettres, mis en ordre et puhlie par M. Diderot^ Paris, 
1751-1763). His most important philosophical writings are: Pensees 
sur V interpretation de la nature, Paris, 1754 ; Reve de D''Alemhert ] Lettre 
sur les aveugles ; Elements de physiologie. M. Assezat has edited the 
Complete Works of Diderot from the original editions. He includes 
what has been published at different periods, and the unpublished 
manuscripts preserved in the Hermitage library (Paris, 1875). [On 
Diderot see the works of K. Rosenkranz (1866) and John Morley 
(1878, 1886).] 

8 1723- 1789. De la nature, 4 vols. 8vo, Amsterdam, 1763-68. 
* A Genevan, 1720-1703. La palingenesie pJiilosophiqne on ide''js sur 
Vetat passe et sur I'etat futur des elres vivants, Geneva, 1769. 



precursors of Lamarck and Darwin. According to Diderot, 
the entire universe is an endless fermentation, a ceaseless 
interchange of substances, a perpetual circulation of life. 
Nothing lasts, everything changes, — species as well as 
individuals. Animals have not ^always been what they are 
now. In the animal and vegetable kingdoms, individuals 
arise, grow, decline, and die. Can we not say the same 
for entire species ? Now, there is an affinity, and perhaps 
identity, between kingdoms, just as between species. Thus, 
who can ever exactly determine the boundaries between 
plants and animals? Plants and animals are defined in 
the same way. We speak of three kingdoms, but why 
should not one emanate from the other, and why should 
not the animal and vegetable kingdoms emanate from uni- 
versal heterogeneous matter ? The evolution is wholly me- 
chanical. Nature, with its five or six essential properties, 
such as potential and active force, length, breadth, depth, 
impenetrability, and sensibility, which exists potentially in 
the inert molecule, and matter, suffices to explain the world. 
We should not search for designs {intentions) where there 
are only accidental facts. The spiritualists say : Look at 
man, that living proof of final causes ! What do they mean ? 
The real man or the ideal man ? Surely not the real man, 
for there is not a perfectly constituted, perfectly sound man 
on the entire surface of the earth. The human species 
consists of an aggregation of more or less deformed and 
unhealthy individuals. Now, why should that make us 
sound the praises of the alleged creator ? Praises, indeed ! 
We have nothing but apologies to offer for him. And 
there is not a single animal, a single plant, a single mineral, 
of which we cannot say what has just been said of man. 
Of what use are the phalanges in the cloven foot of the 
hog? Of what use are the mammae in males? The act- 
ual world is as a day-fly to the millions of real or possible 
worlds of the past and future ; it is what the insect of 



Hypanis is to man, who sees it live and die in the passing 
of a day. The day of a world lasts a little longer, that 
is all. 

These conceptions of the world and man are shared by 
Helyj^tius,^ who, like Thomas Hobbes and Mandeville,^ 
considers egoism and self-interest as the true and sole mo- 
tive of our acts ; by the mathematician D' Alembert,^ 
whose philosophy reveals a delicate tinge of scepticism, 
which distinguishes it favorably from its environment, and 
brings it nearer to criticism ; by the political economists 
TuRGOT ^ and Condorcet,^ who construct a positive phi- 
losophy of history, based on the necessity of human actions 
and the law of continued progress ; by the Baron d'HoL- 
BACH,^ whose Systeme de la nature^ published at London, 
1770, under the pseudonym of Mirabaud, is a complete the- 
ory of ontological and psychological materialism. Matter 
and motion : these two words sum up everything. Matter 
and motion are eternal. The universe is neither governed 
by a God nor by chance, but by immutable and necessary 
laws. These laws do not depend on a personal power capa- 
ble of modifying them ; nor do they form a brutal necessity, 
a Fate hovering above things, a yoke imposed upon them 

1 Claude Adrien, 1715-1771. De Fesprit, Paris, 1758 (anonymous) ; 
De rhomme, de ses facultes et de son education, London (Amsterdam), 
1772 (anonymous) ; Les progres de la raison dans la recherche de la 
verite, London, 1775. Complete works, Amsterdam, 1776 ; Zwei- 
briicken, 1784 ; Paris, 1794 ; 1796 (this last edition in 10 vols., 12°). 

2 Bernard de Mandeville, 1670-1733. The Fahle of the Bees, or 
Private Vices made Public Benefits, London, 1714, 1719. 

8 1717-1783. Author of the masterly Discours preliminaire of the 
Encyclopedia, which he helped to found. Melanges de litlerature, dliis- 
toire et de philosophie, 5 vols., Paris, 1752. 

* Discours sur les progres de Vesprii humain, etc. [Complete works 
by Dupont de Nemours, 4 vols., Paris, 1808-1811.] 

^ Esquisse d^un tableau historique des progres de V esprit humain (post- 
humous work), 1794. 

« 1723-1789. 



from without : they are merely the jproperties of things, the 
expression of their innermost nature. The universe is 
neither an absolute monarchy a la Duns Scotus, nor a con- 
stitutional monarchy a la Leibniz, but a republic. Theism 
is the sworn enemy of science. Pantheism is merely_a 
shamefaced theism, or atheism in disguise. The mechani- 
cal theory sufficiently explains all things. There is no 
finality in nature. Eyes were not made for seeing, nor feet 
for walking, but seeing and walking are the effects of a 
certain arrangement of atoms, which, if different, would 
produce different phenomena. There is no soul apart from 
nervous substance. Thought is a function of the brain. 
Matter alone is immortal ; individuals are not. The free- 
will of the indeterminists is a denial of the universal order. 
There are not two separate realms and two series of laws, 
— physical laws and moral laws, — but one undivided and 
indivisible universe, subject, in all its parts and at all peri- 
ods, to the same necessity. 

Finally, on the eve of the Revolution, the physician Ca- 
BANIS (1757-1808), in his Considerations generales sur V etude 
de Vliomme et sur les rapports de son organisation physique 
avec ses facultes intellectuelles et morales,^ formulated the 
principles of psychological materialism with such frankness 
and vigor as have never been excelled. Body and mind are 
not only most intimately connected ; they are one and the 
same thing. The soul is body endowed with feeling. The 
body or matter thinks, feels, and wills. Physiology and 
psychology are one and the same science. Man is simply a 
bundle of nerves. Thought is the function of the brain, as 
digestion is the function of the stomach, and the secretion 
of bile the function of the liver. The impressions reaching 
the brain cause it to act, just as the food introduced into 
the stomach sets that organ in motion. It is the business 

1 111 the Memoires de Vlnstitut, years lY. and VI. (1796 and 1798) ; 
reprinted, Paris, 1802. 



of the brain to produce an image of each particular impres- 
sion, to arrange these images, and to compare them with 
each other for the sake of forming judgments and ideas, as 
it is the function of the stomach to react upon food in order 
to digest it. Intellectual and moral phenomena are, like all 
others^ necessary consequences of the properties of matter 
and the laws which govern beings.^ 

On this latter point, ijhilosophers^ be they conservative or 
radical, dogmatic or sceptical, jurists and litterateurs^ natu- 
ralists and physicians, agree. By subjecting the Deity him- 
self to laws, Montesquieu simply denies God as an absolute 
personal power. His God is the 7iature of things^ in which 
are grounded the necessary relations which we call laws.^ 
Voltaire is a deist, but he assumes, w4th Locke, that mat- 
ter can think.^ J. J. EoussEAU is a spiritualist in his way, 
but nature^ which we have abandoned and to which we must 
return, is his God also.* The pioneers of German litera- 
ture, Lessing, Herder, and Goethe, combine with the highest 
idealism the same naturalistic and monistic, if not material- 
istic, tendency. What united these different thinkers was 
their outspoken or secret opposition to Cartesian dualism, 
which set up a separate order of things, called free spirit- 
ual substances, not subject to the laws of nature, a kind of 
caste or privileged aristocracy. Equality before the law 

1 Closely related to the system of Cabanis is the intellectual or 
cerebral physiology (known by the name of phrenology) of Gall, Spurz- 
heim. and Broussais. 

2 De r esprit des lois. I., ch. L : Les lois, dans la signification la plus 
etendue, sont les rapports necessaires qui derivent de la nature des cJioses ; 
etj dans ce sens, tous les etres ont leurs lois : la divinite a ses lois, etc. 

^ See page 399, note 1. 

* 1712-1778. Discours sur Vorigine et les fondements de Vinegalite 
parmi les hommes, Paris, 1753 ; Le conlrat social, 1702 ; l^mile ou de 
Veducation, 1762. ICEuvres, Paris, 1764; 1818-20; 1868. L. Moreau, 
J. J. Rousseau et le sie.cle pMlosojdiiqne, Paris^ 1870; John Morley, 
Rousseau, 2 vols., London, 1873. — Tr.] 



of nature, and (in view of the failure of sense-perception 
and speculation to establish the freedom of indifference) 
determinism for all^ without excepting even the Supreme 
Being : these were the watchwords of the philosophers un- 
til they became the watchwords of the Revolution in 1789. 

§ 61. David Hume 1 

"There are no bodies," the idealists dogmatically de- 
clared; "there is no spiritual substance," was the equally 
dogmatic assertion of the materialists. The Scotchman, 
David Hume (1711-1776), an acute thinker and classi- 

1 [Treatise on Human Nature, 3 vols., London, 1739-1740; ed. by 
Selby-Bigge, Clarendon Press, 1888. Hume afterwards worked over 
the three books of the Treatise, and published them under the follow- 
ing titles : An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, 1748 ; A 
Dissertation on the Passions; and An Enquiry concerning the Principles 
of Morals, 1751. The first and last of these works, reprinted from 
the posthumous edition of 1777, have been edited, with introduction, 
etc.,' by J. A. Selby-Bigge, Oxford, 1894. Essays, Moral, Political, 
and Literary, 1741. The Natural History of Religion, 1755. All of the 
above-mentioned works, except the Treatise, were published under the 
title, Essays' and Treatises on Several Subjects, London, 1770. The 
best edition of this collection (with introduction and notes), by T. H. 
Green and T. H. Grose, 2 vols., London, 1875, new ed., 1889. The 
Dialogues concerning Natural Religion appeared after Hume's death. 
These, together with the Treatise, are published, with introduction and 
notes, by T. H. Green and T. H. Grose, 2 vols., London, 1874, new 
ed., 1889. The Autobiography was published by Adam Smith, London, 
1777. The essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul appeared 
1783. Selections from the Treatise (B. I.), by H. A. Aiken, in Series 
of Modern Philosophers, New York, 1893 ; from Hume's ethical writ- 
ings, by J. H. Hyslop, in the Ethical Series, .Boston, 1893. Works on 
Hume : F. Jodl, Leben und Philosophic David Hume's, Halle, 1872 ; E. 
Pfleiderer, Empirismus und Skepsis in D. H.'s Phil., Berlin, 1874 ; 
Meinong, Hume-Studien, 2 vols., Vienna, 1877, 1882 ; G. v. Gizycki, Die 
Ethik D. H.'s, Breslau, 1878; T. Huxley, Hume, London, 1879 ; W. 
Knight, Hume {Philosophical Classics), London, 1886; Introduction to 
ed. of Hume's works by T. H. Green. — Tr ] 




cal historian of England,^ opposes to each of these schools 
the doubts of Protagoras and Locke : Can the human mind 
solve the ontological problem ? Is metaphysics, considered 
as the science of the immanent essence and primary causes 
of things, possible? In his Essays^ which are inimitable 
masterpieces of acumen and clearness, modern philosophy 
enters upon the path marked out by English empiricism. 
The human mind begins to reflect upon its resources with 
a^yiew to ascertaining the pre-conditions of knowledge, the 
origin of metaphysical ideas, and the limits of its capacity. 
Philosophy becomes decidedly critical and positivistic. 

For the old metaphysics, i. e., the alleged science of the 
essence of things, " that abstruse fliiloso'pliy and metaphysi- 
cal jargon^ which^ being mixed up with popular superstition, 
renders it in a manner impenetrable to careless reasoners, and 
gives it the air of science and wisdom,'^ ^ we must, according 
to Hume, substitute ci^iticism. In other words, we must 
inquire seriously into the nature of hum,an understanding^ 
and show, from an exact analysis of its powers and capa- 
city, that it is by no means fitted for such remote and 
abstruse subjects as traditional metaphysics busies itself 
with. We must submit to this fatigue, in order to live at 
ease ever after; and must cultivate true metaphysics with 
some care^ in order to destroy the false and adulterate. 

Though criticism is more modest in its pretensions than 
ontology, it is no inconsiderable part of science to know 

^ History of England from the Invasion of Julius Ccesar, etc., 6 vols., 
London, 1754-1763. Hume's historical work made a greater impres- 
sion on his age than his philosophical works. He himself was espe- 
cially proud of his achievements as a historian (see Letters of David 
Hume to William Strahan. Now first edited by G. Birkbeck Hill, 
Oxford, 1888). Our age, however, has reversed this opinion. Hume, 
the spiritual father of Kant, now takes precedence over Hume, the 
rival of Robertson and Gibbon. 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. 1. [Green's 
edition of Hume]. 



the different operations of the mind, to separate them from 
each other, to class them under their proper heads, and to 
correct all that seeming disorder in which they lie involved, 
when made the object of reflection and inquiry. This 
science has the immense advantage over metaphysics of 
being certain. Nor can there remain any 8Uspicion that 
this science is uncertain and chimerical ; unless we should 
entertain such a scepticism as is entirely subversive of all 
speculation^ and even action} To throia up all at once all 
pretensions of this kind may justly he deemed more rash, pre- 
cipitate, and dogmatical than even the boldest and most affir- 
mative philosophy P- We esteem it worthy of the labor of 
a philosopher to give us a true system of the planets, and 
adjust the position and order of those remote bodies. How 
much more highly should we value those who, with so 
much success, delineate the parts of the mind, in which we 
are so intimately concerned ! We have succeeded in deter- 
mining the laws by which the revolutions of the planets 
are governed. And there is no reason to despair of equal 
success in our inquiries concerning the mental powers and 
economy. All we have to do is to enter upon the enter- 
prise with thorough care and attention.^ 

Hume loves to call himself a sceptic, and he is a sceptic 
as regards dogmatic metaphysics. But from the above 
explicit statements and many other like assertions, it 
would seem that his philosophy is nothing but- criticism. 
It is not his purpose to renounce philosophy or even meta- 
physics, but to give it a different direction and a different 
object, to turn it from fruitless speculation, and to estab- 
lish it on the firm and certain foundation of experience.'* 
Had Hume been an absolute sceptic he could never have 
produced an Immanuel Kant. Now, whatever difference 

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. I., p. 10. 
2 Id., p. 12. 8 Id. 

* Id., sect. XII., part III., p. 133. 



there may be between the results of these two thinkers, 
one thing is certain : The spirit of their theoretical philos- 
ophy, the fundamental conception of their investigations, 
and the goal at which they aim, are perfectly identical. 
Theirs is the critical spirit, and positive knowledge the 
goal at which they aim. To claim for Kant the sole honor 
of having founded criticism is an error which a closer study 
of British philosophy tends to refute. 

The following is the substance of Hume's inquiries con- 
cerning human understanding : — 

All our perceptions may be divided into two classes : 
ideas or thoughts and imj)ress{ons. Ideas are the less lively 
perceptions, of which we are conscious when we reflect on 
our sensations. By the term " impression " Hume means 
all our more lively perceptions, when we hear, or see, or 
feel, or love, or hate, or desire, or will.^ Nothing, at first 
view, he says, seems more unbounded than thought ; but 
a nearer examination shows that it is really confined within 
very narrow limits, and that it amouiits to no more than 
the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or 
diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and 
experience. All the materials of our thinldng are derived 
either from our outioard or inward sentiment ; the mixture 
and composition of these belongs alone to the inind and will.^ 
Or, in other terms, all our ideas or more feeble perceptions 
are copies of our impressions or more lively ones. Even the 
idea of God arises from reflecting on the operations of our 
own mind, and augmenting, without limit, those qualities 
of goodness and wisdom which we observe in ourselves. 

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. II., p. 14. 
2 M, p. 14. We have here, word for word, the teaching of Kant, 
who, however, adds that this mixture and composition depends on 
a priori forms, inherent in the mind. Hume also assumes that it 
depends on principles; but, absolute sensationalist that he is, derives 
the principles themselves from sensation, experience, and habit. 



We may prosecute this inquiry to what length we please; 
we shall always find that every idea which we examine is 
copied from a similar impression. A blind man can form 
no notion of colors ; a deaf man of sounds.^ Moreover, all 
ideas, compared to sensations, are naturally faint and 
obscure .2 

After having proved that all our ideas are derived from 
sensation, Hume shows that they succeed each other in a 
certain order, and that there is a certain connection be- 
tween them. This order and this connection presuppose 
certain principles of connection, according to which our 
thoughts succeed each other. They are ; Resemblance, con- 
tiyuity in time or place, and causality. ^TIiq question here 
presents itself : Are these principles, especially causality, 
the most importont of all notions, a jpriori^ innate, an terior 
to ^1 im pressinn s^ as idealism claims, are they ideas 
in the sens e^ which s en sationalism attaches to the term, 
i. e., faintseiTsations , copies of similar impressions ?^Kant 
answers the first question in the affirmative ; Hume, the 
latter. He devotes all the efforts of his criticism to the 
notion of causality, force, power, or necessary connection, 
and the explanation of its origin. This idea, like all 
others, arises from sensation. Experience teaches us that 
one billiard-ball communicates motion to another upon 
impulse, and that the latter moves in a certain direction. 
We have no a ^priori knowledge either of the movement or 
of the direction of the movement. Between what we call 
the cause and what we call the effect there is no necessary 
connection that could ever be discovered a priori. The 
effect is totally different from the cause, and consequently 
can never be discovered in it. The mind can never pos- 
sibly find the effect in the supposed cause, by the most 
accurate scrutiny and examination ; and wherever experi- 

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. IL, p. 15 
2 Id., p. 16. 


ence shows us that a particular effect succeeds a particular 
cause, there are always many other effects which, to reason, 
must seem fully as consistent and natural.^ In vain, there- 
fore, should we pretend to determine any single event, or 
infer any cause or effect, without the assistance of obser- 
vation and experience. In a word, the idea of cause is no 
exception to the rule according to which all our ideas arise 
from sensation. 

It remains to be seen how it is derived, what is the 
impression from which it comes? 

Let us first observe — and here the sensationalistic ex- 
planation strikes a difficulty which Hume fully appreciated 
— let us observe that what we call power, force, energy, or 
necessary connection can never be perceived. One object 
follows another in an uninterrupted succession ; that is all 
J we see ; but the power or force which actuates the whole 
machine is entirely concealed from us. We know that, in 
fact, hfeat is a constant attendant of flame ; but what is the 
connection between them we cannot conjecture or even 
imagine. Since external objects give us no such idea, let 
us see whether this idea be derived from reflection on the 
operations of our own minds. It may be said that we are 
every moment conscious of internal power ; while we feel 
that, by the simple command of our will, we can move the 
organs of our body, or direct the faculties of our mind. 
But the influence of volition over the organs of the body is 
a fact which, like all other natural events, can be known 
only by experience. The motion of our body follows upon 
the command of our will. Of this we are every moment 
conscious. But the means by which this is effected; of 
this we are so far from being conscious that it must for- 
ever escape our most diligent inquiry A man suddenly 
struck with a palsy in the leg or arm, or who had newly 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. IV., p. 27. 
2 Id., sect. VII., pp. 54 "f. 



lost those members, frequently endeavors, at first, to move 
them, and employ them in their usual offices. Here he is 
as much conscious of power to command such limbs as a 
man in perfect health. But consciousness never deceives. 
Consequently, neither in the one case nor in the other, are 
we ever conscious of any power. We learn the influence 
of our will from experience alone. And experience only 
teaches us how one event constantly follows another, with- 
out instructing us in the secret connection which binds 
them together and renders them inseparable. 

The idea which we are examining is not derived from 
any consciousness within ourselves. Nor do we get it 
through the senses. Then how does it originate ? As we 
can have no idea of anything which never appeared to our 
outward sense or inward sentiment, the necessary conclu- 
sion seems to be that we have no idea of power or connec- 
tion at all, and that these words are absolutely without 
meaning, when employed either in philosophical reason- 
ings or common life. 

But there still remains one method of avoiding this con- 
clusion ; it is to explain the idea of cause by custom or habit. 
We are accustomed to seeing certain events in constant 
conjunction. When any natural object or event is presented, 
it is impossible for us, by any sagacity or penetration, to 
discover or even conjecture, without experience, what event 
will result from it, or to carry our foresight beyond that 
object which is immediately present to the memory and 
senses. But when one particular species of event has al- 
ways, in all instances, been conjoined with another, we 
make no longer any scruple of foretelling one upon the 
appearance of the other.^ We observe, for example, that 
there is a constant connection between heat and flame, be- 
tween solidity and weight, and we are accustomed to infer 
the existence of one from the existence of the other. We 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. VIL, p. 62. 



then call the one object, cause^ the other, effect. We sup- 
pose that there is some connection between them, some 
power in the one by which it infallibly produces the other, 
and operates with the greatest certainty and strongest 

Hence the idea of cause does not arise from any single 
impression, from the perception of a particular object ; it 
springs from our habit of seeing several impressions and 
several objects follow each other in regular order. This 
connection, therefore, which we feel in the mind, this cus- 
tomary transition of the imagination from one object to its 
usual attendant, is the sentiment or impression from which 
we form the idea of power or necessary connection. 
^ To recapitulate : Every idea is copied from some preced- 
ing impression or sentiment ; and where we cannot find 
any impression, we may be certain that there is no idea. 
In all single instances of the operation of bodies or minds, 
there is nothing that produces any impression, nor conse- 
quently can suggest, any idea of power or necessary con- 
nection. But when many uniform instances appear, and 
the same object is always followed by the same event, we 
then begin to entertain the notion of cause and connection. 
We then feel a new sentiment or impression, to wit, a cus- 
tomary connection in the thought or imagination between 
one object and its usual attendant ; and this sentiment is 
the original of that idea which we seek for. 

Hume, whose criticism aims to overthrow the principle of 
causality on the ground that it is neither an a priori pos- 
session, nor derived from any particular experience, is nev- 
ertheless a thorough-going determinist in morals and in 
history. Indeed, he is, with Hobbes and Spinoza, one of 
the founders of 'positive historical science, which is based on 
the principle of necessary human action. " It is universally 
acknowledged," he says,^ " that there is a great uniformity 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. VIII., p. 68. 



among the pactions of men, in all nations and ages, and that 
human nature remains still the same, in its principles and 
operations. The same motives always produce the same 
actions; the same events follow from the same causes. 
Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, 
public spirit ; these passions, mixed in various degrees, and 
distributed through society, have been, from the beginning 
of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and 
enterprises which have ever been observed among mankind. 
Would you know the sentiments, inclinations, and course 
of life of the Greeks and R-omans ? Study well the temper 
and actions of the French and English ; you cannot be much 
mistaken in transferring to the former most of the obser- 
vations which you have made with regard to the latter. 
Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, 
that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this 
particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and 
universal principles of human nature.^'' 

" Were there no uniformity in human actions, and were 
every experiment which we could form of this kind irregu- 
lar and anomalous, it were impossible to collect any general 
observations concerning mankind. . . . The vulgar, who 
take things according to their first appearance, attribute 
the uncertainty of events to such an uncertainty in the 
causes as makes the latter often fail of their usual opera- 
tion, though they meet with no impediment in their opera- 
tion. But philosophers, observing that almost in every part 
of nature, there is contained a vast variety of springs and 
principles, which are hid by their minuteness or remoteness, 
find that it is at least possible the contrariety of events 
may not proceed from any contingency in the cause, but 
from the secret operation of contrary causes. This possibility 
is converted into certainty by farther observation, when they 
remark that, upon an exact scrutiny, a contrariety of effects 
always betrays a contrariety of causes, and proceeds from 



their mutual opposition. A peasant can give no better 
reason for the stopping of any clock or watch than to say 
that it does not commonly go right, but an artist easily 
perceives that the same force in the spring or pendulum 
has always the same influence on the wheels, but fails of its 
usual effect, perhaps by reason of a grain of dust, which 
puts a stop to the whole movement. From the observation 
of several parallel instances, philosophers form a maxim 
that the connection between all causes and effects is equally 
necessary^ and that its seeming uncertainty in some instances 
proceeds from the secret opposition of contrary causes." The 
human will is governed by laws which are no less steady 
than those which govern the winds, rain, and clouds (Spi- 
noza) ; the conjunction between motives and voluntary 
actions is as regular and uniform as that between the cause 
and effect in any part of nature.^ 

This truth has been universally acknowledged among 
mankind ; it is the source of all the inferences which we 
form concerning human actions, the basis of all our infer- 
ences concerning the future. Physical necessity and moral 
necessity are two different names, but their nature is the 
same. Natural evidence and moral evidence are derived 
from the same principle. In spite of the reluctance which 
men have to acknowledge the doctrine of necessity in 
words, they all tacitly profess it. " Necessity, according 
to the sense in which it is here taken, has never yet been 
rejected, nor can ever, I think, be rejected by any philoso- 
pher. ... By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of 
acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the 
will (Locke). ... It is universally allowed that nothing 
exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, 
when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, but it is 
pretended that some causes are necessary, some not neces- 
sary. Here then is the advantage of definitions. Let any 

1 An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. VIII., pp. 71 f. 



one define a cause, without comprehending, as a part of the 
definition, a necessary connection with its effect. Whoever 
attempts to do that will be obliged either to employ unin- 
telligible terms, or such as are synonymous to the term 
which he endeavors to define, and if the definition above 
mentioned be admitted, liberty when opposed to necessity, 
not to constraint, is the same thing with chance, which is 
universally allowed to have no existence." 

Experience refutes the dualism of will and physical 
agencies ; it also destroys the dualism of reason and in- 
stinct. Animals, as well as men, learn many tilings from 
experience, and infer that the same events will always fol- 
low the same causes. By this principle they become 
acquainted with the more obvious properties of external 
objects, and gradually, from their birth, treasure up a 
knowledge of the nature of fire, water, earth, stones, heights, 
depths, etc., and of the effects which result from their 
operation. The ignorance and inexperience of the young 
are here plainly distinguishable from the cunning and 
sagacity of the old, who have learned, from long observa- 
tion, to avoid what hurt them, and to pursue what gave 
ease or pleasure. A horse that has been accustomed 
to the field becomes acquainted with the proper height 
which he can leap, and will never attempt what ex- 
ceeds his force and ability. An old greyhound will trust 
the more fatiguing part of the chase to the younger, and 
will place himself so as to meet the hare in her doubles ; 
nor are the conjectures which he forms on this occasion 
founded in anything hut his observation and experience. An- 
imals, therefore, are not guided in these inferences by 
reasoning, neither are children, neither are the generality 
of mankind, in their ordinary actions and conclusions; 
neither are the philosophers themselves. Animals un- 
doubtedly owe a large part of their knowledge to what we 
call instinct. But the experimental reasoning itself ^ which 



we possess in common with beasts, is nothing hut a species of 
instinct or mechanical power that acts in us unknown to 

The universal propensity to form an idea of God, if not 
an original instinct, is at least " a general attendant of 
human nature." ^ This proposition contains the gist of 
Hume's theology. He is an outspoken opponent of all 
positive religions, and finds it hard to regard them as 

anything but sick men's dreams," or the playsome 
whimsies of monkeys in human shape." ^ The doctrine of 
immortality is "a riddle, an enigma, an inexplicable mys- 
tery." He opposes the following arguments to miracles : 
There is not to be found in all history any miracle attested 
by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good 
sense, education, and learning, as to secure us against all 
delusion in themselves ; of such undoubted integrity, as to 
place them beyond all suspicion of any design to deceive 
others ; of such credit and reputation in the eyes of man- 
kind, as to have a great deal to lose in case of their being 
detected in any falsehood ; and at the same time attesting 
facts performed in such a public manner, and in so cele- 
brated a part of the world, as to render the detection 
unavoidable. The passion of surprise and wonder gives a 
sensible tendency towards the belief of those events from 
which it is derived. Supernatural relations abound among 
ignorant and barbarous nations; or if a civilized people 
has ever given admission to any of them, that people will 
be found to have received them from ignorant and bar- 
barous ancestors, who transmitted them with that invio- 
lable sanction and authority which always attend received 
opinions. It is a general maxim that no testimony is suf- 
ficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sect. IX., pp. 85 ff 
2 The Natural History of Religion^ sect. XV., p. 362. 
8 Id., p. 362. 



such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous 
than the fact which it endeavors to establish.^ 

Although Hume's conclusions in theology, as well as in 
ethics and psychology, wholly agree, on the one hand, with 
the doctrines of the rationalist S23inoza, and on the other, 
with those of the French materialists, the Scotch philoso- 
pher nevertheless maintains to the end his scepticism, as he 
loves to call it, or criticism, or positivism, as we designate 
it nowadays, in order to distinguish it from the scepticism 
of the ancients. True scepticism, as he conceives it, does 
not consist in perpetually doubting all things, but in lim- 
iting " our enquiries to such subjects as are best adapted 
to the narrow capacity of human understanding.^ . . . 
This narrow limitation, indeed, of our enquiries, is, in 
every respect, so reasonable, that it suffices to make the 
slightest examination into the natural powers of the human 
mind, and to compare them with their objects, in order to 
recommend it to us." ^ 

The most salient feature of this scepticism, as compared 
either with metaphysical dogmatism, or the naive object- 
ivism of common-sense^ is that it distinguishes between 
things as they are and things as they appear to us. With- 
out any reasoning, says Hume,* we always suppose an 
external universe, which depends not on our perception, 
but would exist, though we and every sensible creature / 
were absent or "Annihilated. This very table, which we 
see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, 
independent of our perception, and to be something exter- 
nal to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows 
not being on it; our absence does not annihilate it. It 
preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of 
the situation of intelligent beings, who perceive or con- 
template it. But this universal and primary opinion of 

^ Essay concerning Human Understanding, sect. X., p. 94. 

2 Id., XII., p. 133. 8 Id. 4 Id., p. 124. 



all men is soon destroyed by the slightest philosophy. 
And no man who reflects ever doubted that the exist- 
ences which we consider, when we say, this house and that 
tree^ are nothing but perceptions in the mind, and fleeting 
copies or representations of other existences which remain 
uniform and independent. Even the primary qualities 
of extension and solidity are perceptions of the mind. 
— (Berkeley.) 

Are these perceptions produced by external objects re- 
sembling them? Here experience, which alone can 
answer this question of fact, is and must be entirely silent. 
Do external objects at least exist ? Experience is equally 
silent on this point. However, to doul)t the existence of 
bodies is an excessive scepticism, which action and employ- 
ment, and the common occupations of life, subvert. This 
excessive scepticism, or Pyrrhonism, true scepticism rejects 
as barren.^ Every time it attempts to reappear, nature 
puts it to flight. Nevertheless, the existence of bodies, 
being a matter of fact, is incapable of demonstration. The 
only objects of real knowledge and demonstration are quan- 
tity and number. Experience decides concerning all mat- 
ters of fact and existence, and experience never goes 
beyond probability.^ — (Carneades.) 

Hume's teachings were violently opposed, in the name of 
common-sense and morality, by Thomas Rei d,^ the founder 
of the so-called Scottish school, and 'by his disciples, 

^ Essay concerning Human Understanding^ p. 130. 

2 In excluding physics from the sphere of pure knowledge, the 
idealist Plato advances the same opinion. 

* 1710-1796. Professor at Glasgow. Inquiry into the Human Mind 
on the Principles of Common-sense, London, 1764 ff. [Selections from 
the Inquiry by E. Sneath in Series of Modern Philosophers, New York, 
1892. Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1785; Essays on the 
Active Powers of Man, 1788. Complete works, ed. by W. Hamilton, 
Edinburgh, 1827 ff. On the Scotch School see James McCosh, The 
Scottish Philosophy, London, 1875; New York, 1890. — Tr.]. 



Oswald,! Beattie,^ and Dugald Stewart.^ All of these 
men were psychologists of merit, but, with the exception of 
Reid, mediocre metaphysicians. ^ In order to refute Hume 
it was necessary to put oneself in his position, — the critical 
position, — to use his own weapons, to renew the inquiry 
into the human understanding, and, if possible, to make it 
more thorough and complete. Kant , the most illustrious 
continuer and the most acute critic of the Scotch philosopher, 
saw that very clearly. " Common-sense," he says, is a 
precious gift of God. But we must prove it by its acts, by 
deliberate and rational thought and speech, and not appeal 
to it as to an oracle, whenever reasons fail us. It is one of 
the subtle devices of our times to appeal to common-sense 
when our knowledge gives out, and the shallowest fool con- 
fidently measures his strength with the profoundest think- 
er's. . . . And what is this appeal to common-sense but a 
bid for the applause of the rabble, which cannot but bring 
the blush to the cheek of the philosopher ? I cannot help 

1 Appeal to Common Sense in Behalf of Religion, Edmburgh, 1766. 

2 1735-1803. Professor at Edinburgh. Essay on the Nature and 
ImmutahiUty of Truth in Opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism, Edin- 
burgh, 1770 ; Theory of Language^ London, 1778 ; Elements of the Science 
of Morals, 1790-1793. 

3 1753-1828. Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 3 vols., 
London, 1792-1827 ; Outlines of Moral Philosophy, 1793 [ed. with critical 
notes by J. McCosh, London, 1863. Collected works, ed. by W. Ham- 
ilton, 10 vols., Edinburgh, 1854-1858. Thomas Brown (1778-1820), 
a pupil of Stewart, approximates Hume (^Inquiry into the Relation of 
Cause and Effect, Edinb., 1803 ff.) — Tr.]. 

4 In the philosophy of William Hamilton (1788-1856), the Scottish 
school, following the example of the Academy, culminates in scepti- 
cism, which it had undertaken to combat in David Hume. Sir W. Ham- 
ilton was noted for his Discussions on Philosophy and Literature, London 
and Edinburgh, 1852; 3d ed., 1866; Lectures on Metaphysics, 2d ed., 
1860, and on Logic, 2d ed., 1866. See J. Stuart Mill, Examination of 
Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy, London, 1865; 5th ed., 1878; 
[Veitch, Hamilton (Philosophical Classics^l. 



thinking that Hume had as much good sense as Beattie." 
Reason can be corrected by reason alone.^ 

It is true, Hume's philosophy was not unassailable. 
There were breaks in his criticism ; difficulties were eluded 
rather than solved. If experience is the sole source of knowl- 
edge, whence arises the exceptional character of absolute 
certainty which Hume himself concedes to mathematics ? If 
there is nothing in thFmtellect which was not previously 
in the senses, how shall we explain the ideas of cause, 
necessary connection, and necessity? As was seen, the 
Scotch criticist explains the idea of necessary connection 
by the princixjle of habit. After the constant conjunction 
of two objects, we are determined by custom alone to expect 
the one from the appearance of the other. But this explan- 
ation does not suffice. The idea of necessity cannot come 
from experience alone, for the widest experience supplies 
us only with a limited number of cases ; it never tells us 
what happens in all cases, and consequently does not yield 
necessary truth. Besides, it is not true that the notion of 
causality is that of necessary contiguity in time.^ Causality 
signifies connection, and therefore contains an element not 

1 Prolegomena zu einer jeden kilnftigen Metaphysik, Preface, vol. III. 
(Rosenkranz), p. 8. 

2 What succession, as Thomas Reid aptly remarks, is older and 
more regularly observed than that of day and night ? Now, it never 
occurs to any one to consider night as an effect of day, and day as the 
cause of night. Moreover, there is this peculiarity about the truths of 
experience that the certainty we get from them is susceptible of in- 
crease and diminution. After a second successful test, the physician 
is more convinced of the virtue of his medicine than after the first, 
and so on, until a long line of authentic cases changes into certainty 
what was at first a mere presumption and surmise. The case is quite 
different with a truth like the following : Nothing happens without a 
cause. The child, whose experience has just begun, believes in it with 
the same instinctiv^e force as the adult and the old man, and experi- 
ences multiplied by the myriads can neither increase nor diminish its 



included in the notion of contiguity. Now, Hume expressly 
states that one event follows another^ hut that we can yiever 
observe any tie hetiveen them. They seem conjoined^ hut never 
connected.^ Hence, if experience never shows us a cause^ 
but only a succession of events (for that is what Hume 
means by the ill-chosen term conjunction, which is synony- 
mous with connection), must we not either negate the idea 
of causation, or infer a different origin for it ? 

At this point Hume's criticism is corrected and com- 
pleted by that of Kant.^ 

^ An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, sec. VII., p. 62. 

2 [Before the advent of Kant's criticism, German philosophy was 
dominated by the Leibnizo-Wolffian school (see pp. 368 f .), which cul- 
minated in a form of eclecticism similar to the English common-sense 
philosophy. J. H. Lambert (1728-1777), one of Kant's correspondents, 
attempts to reconcile Wolff and Locke, German metaphysics and Eng- 
lish empiricism (Kosmologische Briefe, Augsburg, 1761) ; N. Tetens 
(1736-1805), who influenced Kant, aims to reconcile the rationalistic 
and sensationalistic psychology ( Versuch iiber die menschliche Natur, 
1776) ; M. Knutzen (died 1751), Kant's teacher, endeavors to reconcile 
Wolffian metaphysics, Newton's natural philosophy, and orthodox 
theology. Other representatives of this eclectic movement are the so- 
called popular philosophers, whose chief aim is to popularize philosophy : 
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786 ; complete works, 7 vols., Leipsic, 
1843-44) ; C. Garve (1742-1798), the translator of Ferguson's and A. 
Smith's writings; J. J. Engel (1741-1802 ; Der Philosoph fiir die Welt, 
1775-77); T. Abbt (1738-1766; Vom Tode furs Vaterland, Berlin, 
1761) ; Ernst Platner (1744-1818 ; Philosophische Aphorismen, 1776) ; 
F. Nicolai (1733-1811). To the Aufkldrung also belong the deist 
H. S. Reimarus (1694-1765; Ahhandlungen von den vornehmsten Wahr- 
heiten der natmiichen Religion, Hamburg, 1754, 6th ed., 1794 ; and the 
poet G. E. Lessing (1729-1781). — Tr.] 



§ 62. Kanti 

Immanuel Kant,2 born in Konigsberg, Prussia, 1724, 
was the son of plain people. His paternal grandparents 
emigrated to Germany from the fatherland of Hume. 
After pursuing his studies at the University of his native 

1 [For the period beginning with Kant see, besides the general and 
modern histories of philosophy, the works of Chalybseus, Biedermann, 
Michelet, Willm, Fortlage, Harms, Zeller, Seth, Royce, etc., mentioned 
on pp. 12-15 ; also O. Liebmann, Kant und die Epigonen, Stuttgart, 
1865. — Tr.] 

2 Kant's complete works, published by : G. Hartenstein, 10 vols., 
Leipsic, 1838-39 ; new edition, 8 vols., Leipsic, 1867-69 ; Rosenkranz 
and Schubert, 12 vols., Leipsic, 1838-42 ; [with notes in Kirchmann's 
Philosoplmche Bihliothek, Heidelberg, 1880 ff. The three Critiques and 
several other works, ed. by K. Kehrbach, in Reclames U niversal-Bih- 
lioihek, Leipsic. A new edition is being prepared by the Berlin 
Academy of Sciences. B. Erdmann has published Ref exionen Kanfs 
zur kritischen Philosophie in 2 vols., Leipsic, 1882-84 ; R. Reicke, Lose 
Blatter aus Kant's Nachlass, Konigsberg, 1889, 1895]. Charles Villers, 
Philosophie de Kant, Metz, 1801 ; Amant Saintes, Histoire de la vie et 
de la philosophie de Kant, Paris, 1844 ; V. Cousin, Lemons sur Kanty 
Paris, 1842, 4th ed., 1864 [Engl. tr. by A. Henderson, London, 1870] ; 
Simile Saisset, Le scepticisme, Enesideme, Pascal, Kant, Paris, 186'5 ; 

D. Nolen, La critique de Kant et la metaphysique de Leibniz, Paris, 1875 ; 
M. Desdouits, La philosophie de Kant d'apres les trois critiques, Paris, 
1876 ; [F. Paulsen, Versuch einer Entwickelungsgeschichte der kantischen 
Erkenntnisstheorie, heipsic, 1875; A. Riehl, Der philosophische Kriticis- 
mus, etc., vol. I., Leipsic, 1876 ; E. Caird, The Philosophy of Kant, 
London, 1876 ; same author, The Critical Philosophy of Kant, 2 vols., 
London and New York, 1889 ; C. Cantoni, E. Kant, 3 vols., Milan, 
1879-1883 ; Adamson, The Philosophy of Kant, Edinburgh, 1879 ; W. 
Wallace, Kant (Philosophical Classics), London, 1882; K. Fischer's 
Kant in his History of Philosophy (see p. 12) ; F. Paulsen, Was Kant 
uns sein kann (V. f w. Ph., pp. 1-96, 1881) ; Journal of Speculative 
Philosophy, ed. by W. T. Harris, July and October numbers, 1881 ; 
J. Cx. Schurman, Kant's Critical Problem (Phil. Rev., IL, 2, 1893) ; 

E. Adickes, Kant-Studien, Kiel and Ivcipsic, 1895 ; same author, Bibli' 
ography of Writings by Kant and on Kant, in the Philosophical Revieiv, 
beginning with vol. II., 3 ff. See also Schopenhauer's Kritik der 
Kantischen Philosophie, and T. H. Green's I^ectures on the Philosophy 
of Kant. — Tk.] 



city (1740-1746), Kant became a private tutor, then a 
Privatdocent in the University of Konigsberg (1755), 
where he taught logic, ethics, metaphysics, mathematics, 
cosmography, and geography. He was made full Professor 
in 1770, and continued his lectures until 1797. In 1804 
he died, rich in honors and in years. Kant never left his 
native province, and never married. He enjoyed good 
health, was absolutely regular in his daily habits, free from 
the cares of family-life, and, for three-quarters of a cen- 
tury, devoted to science and intellectual pleasures. Thus 
he realized, in a certain measure, the ideal of the philoso- 
phers of Athens and Rome ; but his cheerful temperament 
and sociable disposition softened the harshness in the char- 
acter of the Stoic sage. When we remember, besides, that 
he was a reformer in philosophy, it will hardly surprise us 
to hear that history likens him to Socrates. 

His philosophical writings may be divided into two sep- 
arate classes. Those of his dogmatic period ^ betray the 
disciple of Leibniz and Wolff ; though anticipating, espe- 
cially his Traume eines Geister sellers (1766), the teach- 
ings of his maturer years. Those of his second period 
(1770-1804), during which the influence of Hume led 
him to break with dogmatism, present a new philosophy. 
Chief among them are : De mundi sensihilis atqiie intelligi- 
hdis forma et principiis^ (1770); Kritik der remeii Ver- 
mmft (1781 ; 2d edition, revised, 1787) : ^ his master- work, 

1 To the first period belongs his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und 
Theorie des Himmeh, one of the masterpieces of general physics. [For 
the development of Kant's critical philosophy consult, especially, the 
works of Paulsen, Riehl, and Caird, mentioned in the preceding note, 
as well as Hartmann's KanVs Ei-kenntniss-theorie, etc., Leipsic, 1894. 

2 [Translated into English, with an introduction and discussion, by 
W. J. Eckoff, New York, 1894. — Tr.] 

3 [Separate editions of the Kritik, by Kehrbach (based upon the 
first edition), B. Erdmann, and E. Adickes (')oth based upon the sec- 
ond). Engl, translations (of 2d ed.) hy Meik\ejo\m {BoJm's Librm-y), 



which forms the basis of the following: Prolegomena zu 
einer jeden kilnftigen Metaphysik ^ (1783) ; Grundlegung zur 
Metaphysik der Sitten ^ (1785) ; Metaphysische Anfangs- 
griinde der Natiirwissenscliaft^ (1786) ; Kritik der prakti- 
schen Vernunft^ (1788); Kritik der Urtheilskraft^ (1190); 
Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der hlossen Vernunft^ 

Our age, as Kant often says, is the age of criticism ; and 
by that word he understands the philosophy which, before 
affirming, weighs, and, before assuming to know, inquires 
into the conditions of knowledge. Not only is the philoso- 
phy of Kant criticism in this general sense; it is also 
criticism in the special sense of being a theory of ideas ; it 
is critical^ as distinguished from the extreme theories of 
Leibniz and Locke, in that it discriminates (jcpiveiv^ dis- 
cernere^, in the formation of ideas, b etween the product of 
sensation and the product of fho.,r>us activity of 

London, 1854; (of 1st ed., with supplements of 2d), by Max Miiller, 
London, 1881 ; Paraphrase by Mahaffy and Bernard, London and 
New York, 1889 ; Selections (from Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of 
Judgment, and ethical writings) by J. Watson {Modern Philosophers), 
2d ed., New York, 1888. See also Stirling's partial translation of the 
Critique in the work cited, p. 437, note 1. — Tr.] 

1 [Engl. tr. by Mahaffy and Bernard, London and New York, 
1889 ; by Bax {Bohn's Library). — Tr.] 

2 {^Foundation of the Metaphysics of Ethics; Engl. tr. by T. K. 
Abbott, 4th ed., London, 1889. — Tr.] 

3 [Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science ; Engl. tr. by Bax 
(Bohn's Library). — Tr.] 

^ {Critique of Practical Reason; Engl. tr. by T. K. Abbott in same 
volume as above. — Tr.] 

5 {Critique of Judgment ; Engl. tr. by J. H. Bernard, London and 
New York, 1892. — Tr.] 

* {Religion within the Bounds of Pure Reason; first part tr. by T. K. 
Abbott in the same volume with the ethical writings, supra. Trans- 
lations of the Philosophy of Law and Principles of Politics, including 
essay on Perpetual Peace, by W. Hastie, Edinburgh, 1887, 1891. 



pure reason . It acknowledges with sensationalism that the 
'matt er of our ideas is furnished by the senses ; with idealism 
it claims that their f orm is the work of reason, — that reason, 
by its own laws, transforms into ideas the given manifold of 
sensation. Criticism neither aims to be sensationalistic nor 
intellectualistic in the extreme sense of these terms, but 
transcendental ; i. e., going beyond (transcendens) the sen- 
sationalistic and idealistic doctrines, it succeeds in reaching 
a higher standpoint, which enables it to appreciate the rela- 
tive truth and falsehood in the theories of dogmatism. It 
is a method rather than a system, an introduction to pliilos- 
ophy rather than a finished system. Its motto is the yvcoOL 
aeavToif of Socrates, which it interprets to mean : Before 
constructing any system whatever, reason must inquire into 
its resources for constructing it. 

In its examination of reason, criticism carefully separates 
the different elements of this faculty, and, true to the critical 
spirit whence it springs, distinguishes between the theo- 
retical order, the practical order, and the sesthetical order. 
Reason resembles a queen, who, under three different 
names, governs three separate states, each having its own 
laws, customs, and tendencies. In the theoretical sphere, 
it manifests itself as the faculty of knowing, or the sense 
of truth ; in the practical sphere, as the active faculty, or 
the sense of goodness ; in the sesthetical sphere, as the 
sense of beauty and teleological fitness. The Kantian phi- 
losophy gives each of these three spheres its due, exam- 
ining one after another, without prejudice or dogmatic 

I. Critique of Pure Reason 1 

And, first of all, it asks : What is knowledge ? 

An idea taken by itself (man, earth, heat) is not knowl- 

^ [H. Yaihinger, Commentar zu KanVs Kritik der reinen Vernunftj 
vol. I., Stuttgart, 1881 ; vol. II, ih., 1892 ; H. Cohen, Kant's Theorie der 



edge; in order to become knowledge, the ideas of man, 
earth, and heat must be combined with other ideas ; there 
must be a subject and a predicate, i. e., a judgment. Ex- 
amples : Man is a responsible being ; the earth is a planet ; 
heat expands bodies. Hence, all knowledge is formulated 
into propositions ; all knowledge is judgment, but not every 
judgment is knowledge. 

There are analytic judgments and synthetic judgments.^ 
The former merely analyze {avaXveiv) an idea, without ad- 
ding anything new to it. Example : Bodies are extended. 
The predicate extended adds nothing to the subject that 
is not already contained in it. This judgment tells me 
nothing new ; it does not increase my knowledge. When, 
on the other hand, I say : The earth is a planet, I make a 
synthetic judgment, i. e., I join {(jvvtl67)ijll) to the idea of 
the earth a new predicate, the idea of a planet, which can- 
not be said to be inseparable from the idea of the earth ; 
nay, it has taken man thousands of years to connect it with 
the latter. Hence, synthetic judgments enrich, extend, and 
increase my knowledge, and alone constitute knowledge ; 
which is not the case with analytic judgments. 

But here Kant makes an important reservation. Not 
every synthetic judgment is necessarily scientific knowl- 
edge. In order to constitute real scientific knowledge, 
with which alone we are here concerned, a judgment must 
be true in all cases ; the union which it establishes between 
subject and predicate should not be accidental, but neces- 

Erfahrung, Berlin, 1871, 2d ed., 1885 ; J. Yolkelt, Kant's ErJcenntnisstheo- 
rie, etc., Leipsic, 1879 ; E. Pfleiderer, Kantischer Kriticismus und englische 
Philosophic, Tubingen, 1881 ; J. H. Stirling, Text-book to Kant, Edin- 
burgh and London, 1881 ; Watson, Kant and his English Critics, Lon- 
don, 1881 ; G. S. Morris, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Griggs's 
Philosophical Classics), Chicago, 1882 ; K. Lasswitz, Die Lehre Kant's 
von der Idealildt des Raumes und der Zeit, Berlin, 1883. — Tr.]. 

1 Kritik der reinen Vernunfl (Rosenkranz), p. 21 ; Prolegomena, 
p. 16. 



sary. " It is warm," is undoubtedly a synthetic judgment, 
but it is accidental and contingent, for it may be cold to- 
morrow ; hence it is not a scientific proposition. When- 
ever, however, you say r Heat expands, you state a fact 
wliich will be as true to-morrow and a thousand years from 
now as it is to-day ; you state a necessary proposition and 
a concept properly so-called. 

But what right have I to affirm that this proposition is 
necessary, universal, true in every instance ? Does expe- 
rience reveal to me all cases, and are there no possible 
cases, beyond our observation, in which heat does not ex- 
pand the bodies which it usually expands ? Hume is right 
on this point. Since experience always furnishes only a 
limited number of cases, it cannot yield necessity and 
universality. ^ Hence, a judgment a posteriori^ i. e., one 
based solely on experience, cannot constitute scientific 
knowledge. In order to be necessary, or scientific, a judg- 
ment must rest on a rational basis ; it must be rooted in 
reason as well as in observation ; it must be a judgment 
a priori, y Now, mathematics, physics, and metaphysics 
consist of synthetic judgments a priori} Hence, to sum 
up : Knowledge may be defined as synthetic judgment^ 
a priori. This is Kant's answer to his preliminary ques- 
tion : What is knowledge ? 

How can we form synthetic judgments a priori? In 
other terms : Under what conditions is knowledge possible ? 
This is the fundamental problem which Kantian criticism 
undertakes to solve.^ 

It is possible, Kant answers, provided the senses furnish 
the materials for a judgment, and reason the cement 
needed to unite them. Take the proposition already cited : 
Heat expands bodies. This proposition contains two (iis- 

1 Prolegomena, pp. 22 ff. — Before Kant's time, mathematical pro 
positions were regarded as analytic. 
* Prolegomena, pp. 28 ff. 



tinct elements : (1) the elements furnished by sensation *. 
heat, expansion, bodies ; (2) an element not given by sen- 
sation, but derived solely from the intellect : the causal 
relation which the sentence in question establishes between 
heat and the expansion of bodies. What is true of our 
example is true of every scientific judgment. Every scien- 
tific judgment necessarily contains sensible elements and 
pure or rational elements. In denying the former, idealism 
ignores the fact that persons born blind have no idea of 
color, and, consequently, no notion of light ; in denying 
the rational, innate, a priori element, sensationalism forgets 
that the most refined senses of the idiot are incapable of 
suggesting a scientific notion to him. The critical philos- 
ophy occupies a place between these two extreme theories, 
and recognizes both the role of sensibility and that of pure 
reason in the formation of our judgments. 

But we must make a more penetrating analysis of the 
faculty of knowledge. As we have just seen, it is divided 
into two sub-faculties, one of which furnishes the materials 
of our knowledge, while the other fashions them, or makes 
concepts of them. Hence, our examination of reason, in 
the broad sense of faculty of knowledge, will take up: 
(1) the sensibility (intuitive reason) and (2) the under- 
standing proper.^ 

1. Critique of Sensibility^ or Transcendental Esthetic 

We now know in a general way that knowledge is the 
common product of sensibility and the understanding. 
But what are the conditions of sense-perception, or, to use 
Kant's language, intuition {Anschauung) ? 

Sensibility, we said, furnishes the understanding with 
the materials of its knowledge. But the materials them- 
selves, of which the garment is to be made, already have 

1 Kritik, p. 28. 



a certain shape; they are no longer absolutely raw ma- 
terials : the latter have been subjected to the preliminary 
processes of spinning and weaving. Or, in other words, 
our sensibility is not purely passive ; it does not turn 
over to the understanding the materials which the latter 
needs, without adding something of its own ; it impresses 
its stamp, its own forms, upon things ; or, as one might say, 
it marks the perceived object just as the outline of our hands 
is traced upon a handful of snow. <^It is in particular 
what the faculty of knowledge is in general : both receptive 
and active ; it receives a mysterious substance from without, 
and makes an intuition of it./^ Hence, there are, in every 
intuition, two elements : a piire or a priori element and an 
a posteriori element, form and matter, something that reason 
produces spontaneously and something, I know not what, 
derived elsewhere. 

What is this form ? What are the a priori elements 
which our sensibility does not receive, but draws from its 
own nature and adds to each of its intuitions, just as the 
digestive apparatus adds its juices to the swallowed food, 
in order to transform it into chyle ? These a priori intui- 
tions, which sensationalism denies, and whose existence the 
Critique of Pure Reason proves, are ^pjicey the form of the 
outer sense, and time^ the form of the inner sense. Space 
and time are original intuitions of reason^ prior to all expe- 
rience : this is the immortal discovery of Kant, and one of 
the fundamental teachings of the critical philosophy 

The following proofs may be offered in support of the 
view that space and time come from reason and not from 
experience : (1) Although the infant has no accurate notion 
of distance, it tends to withdraw from disagreeable objects 
and to approach such as give it pleasure. Hence it knows 
a priori that such objects are in front of it, by the side of 
it, beyond it, etc. Prior to all other intuitions, it has the 

1 Kritik, pp. 31-54. 



idea of before^ beside^ beyond., i. e., the idea of space, of which 
these are but particular applications. The same is true of 
time. Prior to all perception, the child has a feeling of 
before and after^ without which its perceptions would be a 
confused, disordered, disconnected mass. That is, prior or 
a priori to every other intuition, it has the idea of time. 

(2) Another proof that space and time are a priori intui- 
tions: <^Thought may abstract from everything that fills 
space and time ; in no case can it abstract from space and 
time themselves./ This proves that these intuitions, instead 
of coming from without, are, so to say, of a piece with 
reason ; that they are, in the inaccurate language of dog- 
matic philosophy, j/ma^e, that they are, in the last analysis, 
identical with reason. 

(3) But the decisive proof of the a-priority of the ideas of 
space and time is furnished by mathematics. Arithmetic 
is the science of duration, the successive moments of which 
constitute number. Geometry is the science of space. Now 
arithmetical and geometrical truths possess the character of 
absolute necessity. No one Avould seriously maintain : My 
previous experience teaches me that three times three are 
nine, or that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two 
right angles, etc., for everybody knows that such truths are 
independent of experience. Experience, being restricted 
to a limited number of cases, cannot give a truth the abso- 
lute and unquestionable character possessed by the axioms 
of mathematics ; these truths do not spring from experience 
but from reason: hence the sovereign authority which 
characterizes them, and the impossibility of doubting them 
for a single instant. But such truths are concerned with 
space and time. Hence, space and time are intuitions a 

Shall we call them general ideas formed by comparison 
and abstraction ? But an idea thus formed necessarily 
contains fewer characteristics than the particular idea ; the 



idea of man is infinitely less comprehensive and poorer 
than the particular idea of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. 
Now, who would be bold enough to assert that universal 
space contains less than a particular space, or, infinite time, ^ 
less than a fixed period of time ?<^The ideas of space and j 
time are, therefore, not the results of an intellectual opera- { 
tion, of the comparison of different spaces, from which the / 
general idea of space is derived; or of a comparison of/ 
moments of duration, whence arises the general idea of j 
time. They are not results, but principles, conditions a\ 
priori and sine quibus non of perception^ The common \ 
man imagines that he perceives space and time, that space 
and time are, just like their contents, objects of perception. 
But as a matter of fact, it is as impossible for them to be 
perceived as it is for the eye to see itself (its image in the 
mirror is not the eye itself). We see all things in space, 
but we cannot see space itself, nor perceive duration inde- 
pendently of its content. All perception presupposes the 
ideas of space and time ; and unless we had these ideas 
a priori, unless reason created them prior to all its intu- 
itions, unless they pre-existed as original and inalienable 
forms, sense-perception could never take place. 

We now know the conditions under which sense-percep- 
tion operates. It depends on the a priori ideas of space 
and time, which are, as it were, the prehensile organs of 
sensibility. These ideas are not images corresponding to 
external objects. There is no object called space, nor an 
object called time. Time and space are not objects of per- 
ception, but modes of perceiving objects^ instinctive habits, 
inhering in the thinking subject. 

The transcendental ideality of space and time : such is 
the important conclusion reached by the critical examina- 
tion of sensibility, the mene thekel of dogmatism. Let us 
see what this conclusion implies. If neither space nor 
time exists independently of reason and its intuitive activ- 



ity, then things, considered in themselves and independently 
of the reason which thinks them, have no existence in time 
or space. Hence, if sensibility, in consequence of an in- 
stinctive and inevitable habit, shows us things in time and 
space, it does not show them as they are in themselves, 
but as they appear to it through its spectacles, one of 
whose glasses is called time ; the other, space. As they 
appear to it ! which means that sensibility gives us appear- 
ances, or (fyaivo [xeva^ and that it is incapable of giving 
us the thing-in-itself^ the vov/jievov. And since the under- 
standing obtains the materials which it needs exclusively 
Jrom the senses, since there is no other channel through 
which the materials can come, it is evident that it always 
and necessarily operates upon phenomena, and that the 
mystery concealed beneath the phenomenon forever baffles 
it, as it forever baffles the senses. 

2. Critique of the Understanding^ or Transcendental Logic ^ 

Kant distinguishes, in the general faculty of knowledge, 
between sensibility, which produces intuitions or sensible 
ideas, and the understanding, which elaborates them. 
In the understanding he again distinguishes between the 
faculty of judgment, i. e., the faculty of connecting the 
intuitions with each other according to certain a priori 
laws ( Verstand), and the faculty of arranging our judg- 
ments under a series of universal Ideas ( Vernunft, reason, 
in the narrowest sense of the word). The inquiry con- 
cerning the understanding is therefore subdivided into the 
critique of the faculty of judgment (Verstand) and the 
critique of reason proper ( Vernunft'), or, to use Kant's own 
language, into the Transcendental Analytic and the Tran- 
scendental Dialectic. 

1 Kritik, pp. 55 ff. 



A. Transcendental Analytic 

Just as the intuitive faculty perceives all things in time 
and space, reason moulds its judgments according to cer- 
tain forms or general concepts, which, in philosophy, have 
been called categories, ever since the days of Aristotle. 
Kant agrees with Hume that the highest category, the idea of 
cause, conceived as the necessary relation between two phe- 
nomena, is not derived from experience. Hume, however, 
regards it as the result of our habit of seeing certain facts^ oJ^^^ 
constantly conjoined together, and consequently considers C'i'^**^^^ 
it as a prejudice useful to science, but without metaphysi- 
cal value. Kant, on the other hand, defends its validity ; 
and from the impossibility of deriving it from experience, 
i nfer s that it is innate. The idea of cause and all other 
categories are, according to him, a priori functions of the 
understanding, means of knowledge and not objects of knowl- 
edge, just as time and space are, according to the same 
philosopher, modes of seeing (intuendi') and not objects of 

Not content with proving, against empiricism, that the 
categories are innate, Kant attempts to make out an in- 
ventory of them, and to deduce them from a principle. 
He gives us a complete list; indeed, far too complete a 
list. His love of symmetry impels him to add a category 
of limitation (which Schopenhauer ingeniously calls a false 
window), and a category of being and non-being (Basein 
und Nichtsein), which he erroneously distinguishes from 
the concepts of reality and negation. As far as the logi- 
cal deduction of a priori ideas is concerned, we must confess 
that it is merely a pium desiderium ; no one before Hegel 
has really made a serious attempt to solve this problem. 

The theory of judgment which Kant finds in traditional 
logic, serves as his guide in the discovery and classifica- 
tion of the categories. Indeed, he says, the judgment is 



the highest function of the understanding. Now the cate- 
gories are the forms according to which we judge. Hence 
there are as many categories as there are kinds of judg- 
ments. Logic enumerates twelve of them: (1) the uni- 
versal judgment (All men are mortal) ; (2) the particular 
judgment (Some men are philosophers) ; (3) the singular 
judgment (Peter is a mathematician) ; (4) the affirmative 
judgment (Man is mortal); (5) the negative judgment 
(The soul is not mortal) ; (6) the limiting judgment (The 
soul is immortal) ; (7) the categorical judgment (God is 
*,just) ; (8) the hypothetical judgment (If God is just, he will 
punish the wicked) ; (9) the disjunctive judgment (Either 
the Greeks or the Romans are the leading nation of anti- 
quity) ; (10) the problematical judgment (The planets are, 
perhaps, inhabited) ; (11) the assertory judgment (The earth 
is round) ; (12) the apodictic judgment (God must be just). 
The first three express totality, plurality, and unity, i. e., 
in a word, the idea of quantity ; the fourth, fifth, and sixth 
express reality, negation, and limitation, or, the idea of 
quality ; the seventh, eighth, and ninth express substan- 
tiality and inherence, causality and dependence, and reci- 
procity, or, in short, relation ; finally, the tenth, eleventh, 
and twelfth express possibility and impossibility, being 
and non-being, necessity and contingency, i. e., the idea of 

There are, therefore, twelve categories, arranged in 
threes, under four groups or fundamental categories : quan- 
tity, quality, relation, and modality. One of these, relation^ 
governs and embraces all the rest. It is the highest cate- 
gory, since every judgment, whatever it may be, expresses 
a relation.^ 

From these four cardinal categories four rules or prin- 
ciples necessarily follow, which are, therefore, also a priori : ^ 
(1) From the standpoint of quantity, every phenomenon, 
1 Kritik, p. 79. 2 2,1^^ pp. 131 ff. 



i. e., everything presented by the intuitive faculty as exist- 
ing in space and in time, is a quantity, i. e., a fixed extent 
and a fixed duration. This principle excludes the hypoth- 
esis of atoms. 

(2) From the standpoint of quality, every phenomenon 
has a certain content, a certain degree of intensity. This 
principle excludes the hypothesis of the void. 

(3) From the standpoint of relation, all phenomena are 
united by the tie of causality ; which excludes the hypoth- 
esis of cha7ice ; there is, moreover, a reciprocal action 
between the effects and their causes ; which excludes the 
idea of fatum. 

(4) From the standpoint of modalit}^, every phenomenon 
is possible that conforms to the laws of space and time, 
and every phenomenon is necessary^ tlie absence of which 

•would imply the suspension of these laws ; which excludes 

The first and second of these principles constitute the law 
of continuity ;\ the third and fourth, the law of causality. 

These categories and the principles which follow from 
them form the pure^ innate, a j^'t^iori element, and, as it 
were, the patrimony of the understanding (^Ver stand). 
The latter does not receive them ; it draws them from its 
own inner nature ; it does not find them in the phenomenal 
world ; it imposes them upon it.^ These conclusions of the 
transcendental logic are of the highest importance. But, 
before we develop them, we must, in a few words, explain 
what Kant means by the schematism of pure reason."^ 

The analysis of the faculty of knowledge has outlined 
the boundaries between sensibility and the intellect (sen- 
I sibility receives the impressions, co-ordinates them, and 
\ makes intuitions of them ; the intellect synthesizes the in- 
tuitions, i. e., judges and reasons). We discriminated, in 
sensibility, between a posteriori intuitions and the a priori 
1 Prolegomena, pp. 84-85. 2 Krifik, pp. 122 fp. 



intuitions of space and time ; in the understanding we 
discovered a number of a priori concepts, which are so 
many compartments, as it were, in which reason stores 
and elaborates the products of experience. ^But though 
containing many elements, the faculty of knowledge is, 
nevertheless, a unity. y This essential unity of reason in 
the diversity of its operations | is the ego^ the feeling or 
apperception of which accompanies all intellectual phe- 
nomena, and constitutes their common bond, so to speak. 
Kant is not satisfied with a mere analysis ; not only does 
he take apart the knowledge-machine, as we might say, 
he also attempts to explain how it works, and to show 
how the parts fit into each other. He, therefore, imagines 
the categories of limitation, reciprocity or concurrence, and 
reality, as connecting links between affirmation and nega- ^ 
tion, substantiality and causality, possibility and necessity : . 
fictions which gave rise to the triads of Fichte and Hegel 
(thesis, antithesis, and synthesis). It is owing to the same 
demand for synthesis that he raises the question : How can 
reason act upon the data of sensibility ; by what means, by 
what arm, as it were, does it lay hold of sensible intuitions 
and make notions of them ? 

This operation is, in his opinion, effected by means of 
the idea of time, the natural intermediary between intuitions 
and concepts. Though time, like space, belongs to the 
domain of sensible things, it is less material than space, 
and partakes more of the entirely abstract nature of the 
categories. Owing to its resemblance to the categories, 
the idea of time serves as an image or symbol to express 
the a priori notions in terms of sense, and becomes a kind 
of interpreter between the intuitive faculty and the under- 
standing, which, without it, cannot assist in the formation 
of the judgment. 

Considered as a series of moments, or as number, time 
expresses the idea of quantity : The image of universality 



is the totality of moments of time ; tlie particular is ex- 
pressed by a certain number of moments ; the singular, by 
one moment. The content of time symbolizes the idea of 
quality (reality is expressed by a time filled with events ; 
negation, by a time in which nothing happens). Time like- 
wise symbolizes the idea of relation : Permanence in time 
represents the idea of substance ; succession of moments, 
the idea of cause and effect ; simultaneity, the idea of reci- 
procity and concurrence. Finally, time is the image of the 
categories of modality : That which corresponds to the con- 
ditions of time is possible ; that which exists at a definite 
time is real or actual ; that which is eternal is necessary. 
Hence, the idea of time serves as a scheme for the a priori 
concepts of the understanding ; it is a framework, so to 
speak, of the ideal constructions, for which the senses fur- 
nish the stones, and reason the mortar. Reason uses the 
idea of time as an interpreter between itself and sensibility ; 
and this operation is called, in the pedantic language of 
criticism, the schematism of pure reason. 

The conclusion of the critique of the intellect merely 
corroborates the sceptical and subjectivistic results of the 
Transcendental Esthetic. 

The critique of the intuitive faculty has demonstrated 
that we see things through colored glasses (space and time), 
i. e., otherwise than they are in themselves. The examina- 
tion of the understanding shows that we communicate with 
them through an entire system of glasses. Sensibility per- 
ceives them, but in doing this, it impresses its forms upon 
them, i. e., it transforms them. We do not perceive them 
as they are, but as they appear to us, that is, as we make 
them. When we perceive them, they have already been 
stamped ; indeed, tliey are perceived by the very forms in- 
hering in sensibility (space and time). They are no longer 
things ; they are nothing but phenomena. Hence the phe- 
nomenon may be defined as the thing transformed by the 




mould of the intuitive faculty. What constitutes it is, on 
the one hand, the thing which impresses the senses, but 
above everything else, the sensibility itself, or reason in the 
broad sense of the term : it is ourselves ; it is the /, the 
perceiving and thinking subject, that makes the phenomenon. 
The phenomenon is the product of reason ; it does not exist 
outside of us^ hit in us ; it does not exist beyond the limits 
of intuitive reason} 

Now, while the JEsthetic brings us to the threshold of sub- 
jective idealism, the Transcendental Logic carries us right 
into it, in spite of Kant's protests against our confounding 
him with Berkeley. Not only, he tells us, does reason, as 
an intuition, constitute, produce, or create the phenomenon, 
but reason, in the form of the understanding, also de- 
termines the reciprocal relations of sensible phenomena. 
Reason makes them a priori quantities, qualities, causes, 
and effects, and thus impresses upon them the seal of its 
legislative power ; it is through reason that the things 
become quantities, qualities, effects, and causes, which they 
are not in themselves. Hence we may say without exag- 
geration that it is reason tvhich prescribes its laws to the sen- 
sible universe ; it is reason which makes the cosmos. 

Such are Kant's own words,''^ and we emphasize these 
memorable theses because they form the immediate basis of 
the systems of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. And yet the 
latter are called the apostates of criticism, whom Kant 
himself repudiates ! Nevertheless, the man who said that 
reason, — and human reason, nota bene, — prescribes its 
laws to the universe, is the father of Hegelian panlogism. 
But, we must add, he is so, in spite of himself ; the bent of his 
philosophy is essentially different from that of his successors. 
Instead of deifying the human understanding, he claims 
to limit it, — to force the overflowing river into its natural 

^ Kritik, p. 389 ; Prolegomena, pp. 44, 51. 
* Prolegomena^ p. 85. 



channel, the phenomenal world, and to exclude forever the 
sphere of the absolute. When Kant says that reason creates 
the universe, or at least assists in its creation, he means the 
phenomenal universe, the totality of phenomena, and he 
very candidly admits that there may be, beyond the phe- 
nomenal world, a world of noumena or realities which 
cannot be perceived, which are inaccessible and conse- 
quently superior to reason.^ Kant is far from being a pan- 
logist in the Hegelian sense of the term ; nay, the very 
object of the entire second part of his critique of the under- 
standing, the Transcendental Dialectic, is to demonstrate 
the incompetence of theoretical reason beyond the domain 
of experience, and the futility of metaphysics considered as 
the science of the absolute. 

B. Transcendental Dialectic ^ 

From the faculty of judgment ( Ver stand} Kant dis- 
tinguishes that of embracing the totality of our judgments 
under certain general points of view, which he calls Ideas, 
This faculty, the highest of all in the intellectual sphere, 
is reason in the narrow sense of the term, the wO? of the 
ancients. The concepts of " reason," or Ideas,^ are : the 
thing-in-itself, or the absolute, the universe, the soul, and 
God. Their function is similar to that of the a priori 
intuitions (space and time), and that of the categories. 
Just as the former arrange the impressions of sense, and 
the latter, the intuitions, so tlie Ideas arrange the infinite 
mass of judgments and reduce them to a systeim__Iience 
"reason," which fashions them, is the highest synthetic 
faculty, the systematic and scientific faculty. Thus, from 

1^ The absolute rationalism of his successors, on the other hand, 
does not admit any kind of transcendency. 
2 Kritik, pp. 238 if. 

' The term is derived from Platonism, but the Ideas of Kant are 
not, like those of Plato, realities existing apart from our thought. 



the co-operation of sensibility, judgment, and " reason " 
arise the sciences. For example : The outer sense, by 
means of its a priori intuitions of space and time, furnishes 
us with a series of phenomena ; the understanding, with the 
help of its categories, makes concepts, judgments, and 
scientific propositions of them ; finally, " reason " embraces 
these disjecta membra under the Idea of the cosmos, and 
makes a science of them. So, too, the inner sense furnishes 
us with a series of facts ; the understanding makes con- 
cepts of them ; and " reason " combines these concepts into 
the Idea of the soul, and produces the science of psychology. 
By viewing the totality of phenomena from the standpoint 
of the absolute or of God, reason creates theology. 

(The " Ideas " and reason," as a separate faculty of 
the understanding, seem to be superfluities in the Kantian 
system. The Idea of the cosmos is nothing but the cate- 
gory of totality ; the Idea of the soul and the Idea of God 
are the categories of substance and cause, applied to inner 
facts (soul) and to the sum-total of phenomena (God). 
jC. " Reason," consequentl}^, is not a faculty distinct from the 
understanding ; it is merely its complete development. 
But we shall not insist on this critical detail^ Let us 
rather hasten to discuss the most important topic of the 
Dialectic : the doctrine of the a-priority of the Ideas.^ 

Just as space and time are not perceived objects, but 
modes of perceiving objects ; just as the categories of quan- 
tity, quality, and relation are means, not objects, of knowl- 
edge, so, too, the universe, the soul, and God are a priori 
syntheses of reason and not beings existing independently 
of the thinking subject. At least, it is impossible for rea- 
son to demonstrate their objective existence. Reason, as 
Kant insists, really knows nothing but phenomena, and 
receives the matter of all its operations from sensibility 
alone. Now the universe, as absolute totality, the soul, and 
' Kritik, pp. 252 ff. 



God are not phenomena ; the Ideas — in this, says Kant, 
they differ from the categories — do not receive any con- i 
tent from sensibility ; they are supreme norms, regulative | 
points of view, no more, no less. Old metaphysics erred in ( 
regarding them as anything else. 

Dogmatism deludes itself when it claims to know the 
absolute. It resembles the child that sees the sky touching 
the horizon, and imagines that it can reach the sky by mov- 
ing towards the seeming line of intersection. The sky is 
the thing-in-itself, the absolute, which by a kind of optical 
illusion, seems to us to be an object that can be studied 
and experienced ; the horizon, which recedes as the child 
advances, is experience, which seems to attain the absolute, 
and which, in reality, cannot approach it ; the child itself 
is the dogmatic metaphysician. Let us say, to be just, that 
the illusion is common to all intellects, just as the illusion 
that the heaven bounds the earth is shared by all. But 
there is this difference between the dogmatic philosopher 
and the critical philosopher. The former, like the child, 
is the dupe of his illusion, while the latter explains it and 
takes it for what it is worth. Kant might have summed | 
up his entire critique as follows : Knowledge is relative ; ; 
a known absolute signifies a relative absolute ; which is 
contradictory. ■ 

What is true of traditional ontology is true of psychology, 
cosmology, and theology. 

Rational psychology, as Descartes, Leibniz, and Wolff 
conceived it, rests on a paralogism.^ " I think," says Des- 
cartes, " therefore I am " — and mentally adds : a substance. 
Now, that is just what he has no right to do. / thinks 
means : I am the logical subject of my thought. But have I 
the right to infer from this that I am a substance in the 
sense which Cartesian metaphysics attaches to the term ? 
A logical subject is one thing, a metaphysical subject is 

1 Kritik, pp. 275 ff. 



quite another. When I express the judgment : The earth 
is a planet, the logical subject of this proposition is the ego 
that formulates it ; while the earth is the real subject. 
The celebrated thesis of Descartes is a paralogism, because 
it confuses the /, the logical subject, with the J, the real 
subject. Metaphysically, I do not know the eyo^ and I 
shall never know it, except as the logical subject, as an Idea 
inseparable from my judgments, as the premise and neces- 
sary concomitant of all my intellectual operations. I shall 
never know more. As soon as I make a substance of it, I 
make it the object of a judgment, which is, according to 
Kant, as absurd as though I pretended to see space and 
time.y' Space and time are a priori ideas which serve as a 
framework for sensible ideas, without being objects of the 
senses themselves. So, too, the cogito is an a priori judg- 
ment, preceding all other judgments as a conditio sine qua 
non^ without, however, in any way anticipating the nature 
of the ego. I cannot judge metaphysically concerning the 
ego, because it is I who am judging : one cannot be both 
judge and litigant, as they say in law ; or subject of the dis- 
course and the real subject, as they say in logic. 

If it is not possible to prove that the ego exists as a sub- 
stance, the doctrines of the simplicity, immateriality, and 
immortality of the human soul cannot stand. 

From the existence of simple ideas it does not necessarily 
follow that the soul is a simple substance, for there are 
also collective ideas. To conclude from the simplicity of 
ideas the simplicity of the " spiritual substance " would 
be equivalent to inferring the simplicity of the cosmical 
substance from the simplicity of weight, or the unity of 
motive force from the simplicity of what mechanics calls 
the resultant. 

Suppose, however, the soul were a simple substance ; 
simplicity is not immortality. We must remember that, 
from Kant's point of view, bodies are phenomena, i. e., facts 



produced by sensibility, the sensible subject or the ego, 
with the co-operation of an absolutely unknown cause. The 
phenomenon — we must always return to this fundamental 
thesis of criticism — the phenomenon is nothing external to 
the sensible subject ; heat, light, and color, although called 
forth by an external, wholly mysterious, solicitation, are 
products of sensibility, inner facts, — in short, ideas. 

Kant, it is true, seeks to draw a line of demarcation be- 
tween the phenomenon and the intuition or idea, between 
what happens at the boundary of the ego and the non-ego, 
and what is entirely subjective ; but with indifferent success. 
The phenomenon takes place in us and is consequently 
identical with the idea. Hence, in so far as they are phe- 
nomena, bodies are ideas. Why, then, should not the bodies, 
on the one hand, and the intuitions properly so-called, the 
categories, and the judgments, on the other, have a common 
substance ? Why should not that which we call matter be 
an immaterial thing, and what we call mind or soul, be a 
material thing ?i 

Immortality, therefore, likewise ceases to be a self-evident 
doctrine. According to the supporters of this dogma, the 
soul is not only an indestructible substance, but preserves, 
in death, the consciousness of self. Now, we discover, in 
inner perception, infinite degrees of intensity, and may 
conceive a descending scale that culminates in complete 

By showing us the possibility of what dogmatism had 
previously affirmed in Spinoza, viz., the identity of spirit- 

1 KritiJc, first edition, p. 288 : So konnte dock woJil dasjenige EtwaSj 
welches den dusseren Erscheinungen zum Grunde liegt, teas unsern Sinn so 
ajficirt, dass er die Vorstellungen von Raum, Materie, Gestalt, etc., bekomjnl, 
dieses Etwas . . . konnte dock auch zugleich das Subject der Gedanken 
sein. . . . Demnach ist selhst durcJi die eingerdumte Einfachheit der Natur 
die menschliche Seele von der Materie, wenn man sie (loie man soil) bios 
als Erscheinung betrachtet in Ansehung des Substrati derselben gar nicht 
hinreichend unterscUieden. 



ual substance and material substance, criticism does away 
with the hypotheses of influxus, divine assistance, and pre- 
established harmony. These theories lose their raison d^etre 
as soon as it is proved that the substances " of Descartes 
and the monads " of Leibniz are nothing but phenomena, 
derived, perhaps^ from a common source. The problem is no 
longer to explain the reciprocal action of soul and body, but 
to ascertain how the same reason, the same ego, can produce 
phenomena as diametrically opposed as material facts and 
intellectual facts, extension and thought. In this new 
form, the question retains all its importance and mysterious 
fascination for Kant. He touched upon it, as we saw, in 
connection with the idea of time and its function as an 
intermediary between the intuitions and the categories, but 
he could not penetrate more deeply into the subject without 
contradicting his premises. To attempt to solve it meant 
to state what sensibility is in itself, what the understanding 
is in itself ; it meant to make the thing-in-itself an object of 
metaphysical knowledge. 

After overthrowing rational psychology, Kant undertakes 
to demolish rational cosmology in the Wolffian sense.^ In- 
stead of confining itself to the domain of experience, this 
alleged science makes an Idea, the cosmos, the object of its 
speculations. When it considers this Idea from the stand- 
point of quantity, quality, relation, and modality, it neces- 
sarily becomes involved in antinomies. Antinomies are » 
theories which contradict each other, each one, at the same 
time, being as capable of demonstration as the other. 


We can demonstrate, with the same show of reason, that 
the universe is a limited quantity, and that it is unlimited 
in space and time, i. e., infinite and eternal. 

1 Kritik, pp. 325 ff. 



(1) The universe is limited in time and in space. Let 
us assume, for the sake of argument, that it is not. The 
universe, as a whole, is composed of parts which exist sim- 
ultaneously. Now, I cannot conceive it as a whole except 
by a mental addition, a successive synthesis of its parts. 
But, by hypothesis, these parts are infinite in number. 
Hence their successive addition requires an infinite time. 
Consequently, the idea of the universe, the result of this 
addition, presupposes that an infinite time has elapsed to 
form it. But elapsed time is not infinite time. To reach 
a sum, the number of parts to be added must be limited : 
we cannot add an infinite number of parts. Now, the idea 
of the universe is a synthesis, the result of an addition. 
Hence, the universe has a limited extent (Aristotle). Let 
us likewise assume that it has no limit in time, that it has 
no beginning. On this hypothesis, an infinite number of 
moments have elapsed up to a given time. But an infinite 
lapse (i. e., finitude) of time is a contradiction in terms. 
The universe, therefore, is limited in space and in time 

(2) The universe is unlimited in space and in time. 
Otherwise, there would be, beyond its limits, an infinite 
space (for the idea of space does not admit of limits) ; 
hence there would be space by the side of things, and we 
might speak of a relation between the universe and the 
infinite space surrounding it, i. e., of a relation between 
objects and something which is not an object ; for we now 
know that space is not an object. But a relation between 

" an object and something that is not an object is impos- 
sible ; a relation may obtain between things in space ; there 
can be none between things and the space in which they 
exist. Hence the universe is unlimited. — If it had had a 
beginning, it would have been preceded by time without 
content, i. e., by notliing^ for time without content is equal 
to nothing. Now ex nihilo 7iihil. Hence the universe is 
eternal (Parmenides, Aristotle). 




Considered from the standpoint of quality (i. e., of its 
inner nature), is cosmical matter composed of atoms or 
elements which are, in turn, composite? Both the thesis 
and the antithesis may be proved with equally cogent 

Thesis : Matter is composed of simple elements^ or atoms. 
Let us assume that the opposite theory is true, and that 
matter is composed of parts, in turn composed of parts 
divisible into parts, and so on to infinity. If, in this 
hypothesis, we abstract from the idea of composition and 
decomposition, nothing whatever is left ; now, out of noth- 
ing nothing can be composed. Every composite thing pre- 
supposes simple constitutive elements. Hence, matter is 
composed of indivisible elementary substances, monads, or 

The antithesis, according to which matter is infinitely 
divisible^ is equally easy of proof. In so far as the as- 
sumed atoms are material, they are extended. Now, that 
which is extended is divisible. Inextended particles are 
no longer matter. Hence, there are no simple material 


Does the universe, considered as an order of things, em- 
brace free causes, or is it governed, without exception, by 
necessity? Metaphysicians have demonstrated both the 
thesis and the antithesis. 

The thesis, which affirms that there are free causes^ is 
proved as follows : Let us suppose that all things are con- 
nected with each other by a necessary nexus. If, on this 
hypothesis, we desire to pass from an effect to its first 
cause, it will be found that this first cause does not exist, 
or at least that the cause which seems to be the first is not 
really the first, but merely a link in the infinite chain of 



events. Now, according to the principle of sufficient 
reason, in order that an event be produced, all the causes 
necessary to its production must exist, and all the con- 
ditions which it presupposes must be satisfied. If one of 
these conditions is absent, the event cannot be produced. 
But, on the hypothesis of an infinite chain, there is no first 
cause or condition of a given event. If this cause is lack- 
ing, the occurrence cannot take place. Now, it does take 
place ; hence, there is a first cause, that is, a cause that is 
not again the necessarily predetermined effect of a previ- 
ous cause, or, finally, a free cause. Hence, there are in 
the world, besides necessary occurrences, free occurrences 
and free causes. 

According to the antithesis, everything is necessary con- 
nection^ and liberty is merely an illusion. Let us assume 
a free cause. This cause necessarily exists prior to its 
effects, and, moreover, it pre-exists in a different state from 
that which it assumes when the effect is produced ; first, it 
exists as a virgin, then, wdien the effect is produced, as a 
mother, so to speak. Thus we have, in the cause in ques- 
tion, two successive states without a causal tie, which is 
contrary to the principle recognized by the critique, that 
every phenomenon is an effect. Hence, liberty in the in- 
deterministic sense is impossible. 


According to the thesis, there exists either in the world or 
beyond it, a necessary heing^ an absolute cause of the uni- 
verse. The demonstration is similar to the proof of the 
existence of free causes. The world is a series of effects. 
Each effect, to be produced, presupposes a determined 
series of causes or conditions, and, consequently, a first 
cause or condition, an existence that is no longer contin- 
gent but necessary. 



According to the antithesis, there is no necessary heing^ 
either in the universe as an integral part of the cosmos^ or 
beyond it, as the cause of the tvorld. 

Now, if there is, in the world and as part of it, some- 
thing necessary, this can only be conceived in two ways : 
(1) it exists at the beginning of the world ; or (2) it coin- 
cides with the whole series of phenomena constituting it. 
Now, every beginning is a moment of time. Hence, an 
absolute beginning would be a moment of time without a 
preceding moment ; which is inconceivable, for the idea of 
time admits of no limits. Hence, there is no necessary 
being at the origin of things. But it is also incorrect to say 
with Spinoza and the pantheists, that the whole of things 
and the totality of the moments of time, i. e., the universe, 
is necessary and absolute being. For, however immeasur- 
able it may be, a totality of relative and contingent beings 
will no more constitute an absolute and necessary being 
than a hundred thousand idiots will constitute one in- 
telligent man. Hence, there is nothing necessary in the 

Nor is there anything necessary beyond the universe. 
For if the necessary being exists outside of the world, it 
exists outside of time and space. Now it is, by hypothe- 
sis, the principle, the source, the beginning of things. As 
their beginning, it constitutes a moment of time. But it 
is outside of time. That is to say, the necessary being 
cannot be conceived either in the form of immanency or in 
that of transcendency. 

The fourth antinomy is not so much concerned with cos- 
mology as with rational theology, the futility of which it 
shows in advance. Nevertheless, Kant devotes eighty- 
eight pages to the critique of the theodicy and the proofs 
of the existence of God.^ 

1 Kritik, pp. 456 ff. 



The ontological proof (Anselm, Descartes) concludes 
from the idea of God the objective existence of a supreme 
being, and has no more value than the following reason- 
ing of a poor man : I have the idea of a hundred thalers, 
hence these hundred thalers exist — in my purse. This 
is the same objection which Gaunilo of Marmoutiers had 
urged against St. Anselm. 

The cosmological argument (a contingentia mundi) falsely 
assumes that there can be no infinite series of causes and 
effects without a first cause.^ By connecting the series of 
contingent things with a first and necessary cause, it ima- 
gines that it closes the series, while, in reality, there still 
remains, between this alleged first cause and the following 
cause, the yawning chasm which separates the necessary 
from the contingent, and the absolute from the relative. 
But even granting the cogency of the proof, it would not 
follow that the necessary being, whose existence it claims 
to establish, is the personal being which theology calls God. 

The teleological or physico-theological proof infers from 
the finality revealed in nature the existence of an intel- 
ligent creator. This argument has the advantage that it 
makes a deep impression on the mind, and the preacher 
is free to use it in preference to all other reasonings. But 
from the scientific point of view it has no value ; for (1) it 
passes from sensible data to something that does not fall 
within the scope of the senses ; (2) it professes to estab- 
lish the existence of a God who is the creator of matter ; 

(3) with what right, moreover, does it compare the universe 
to a clock or a house ? Is the world necessarily a work 
presupposing a workman ? Why, instead of being a machine 
begun at a given time, could it not be an eternal reality ? 

(4) Besides, what is finality ? Is it inherent in the things 
themselves ? or is not rather our own caprice which confers 

^ See the fourth antinomy. 



upon them their teleological character, according as they 
please us or displease us (Spinoza) ? 

The moral proof, which is based on the purposiveness in 
the moral order, on the existence of the moral law, on the 
phenomenon of moral conscience and the feeling of responsi- 
bility, is peremptory from the standpoint of practical rea- 
son, but from the standpoint of pure theory it shares the 
weakness of the teleological proof, of which it is, at bottom, 
merely a variation.^ 

In short, the critique of the faculty of knowledge does 
not culminate in atheism, but neither does it lead to theism ; 
it does not lead to materialism, nor does it infer the spirit- 
uality of the soul and freedom ; that is to say, its last word 
is the eiToyJ] in matters of metaj)hysics. Enclosed within 
the magic circle of our intuitions, our concepts, our a 'priori 
Ideas, Ave perceive, we judge, we know, but we know 
phenomena merely, i. e., relations existing between an 
object absolutely unknown in itself and a thinking subject, 
which we know only by its phenomena, and whose essence 
is shrouded in eternal mystery. What we call the world 
is not the world in itself ; it is the world remodelled and 
transformed by sensibility and thought ; it is the result of 
the combined functions of our intellectual faculties and a 
something, we know not what, which arouses them ; it is the 
relation of two unknowns, the hypothesis of an hypothesis, 
the " dream of a dream." 

II. Critique of Practica.1 Reason 2 

Although the Critique of Pure Reason reduces us to a 
scepticism which is all the more absolute because it is rea- 

1 The critique of monotheism, polytheism, and pantheism, is the 
same as that of theism. Theism erroneously subsumes an Idea of 
reason under a category, being ; the error of monotheism, polytheism^ 
and pantheism consists in applying to the same Idea the categories 
of quantity : unity, plurality, and totality. 

2 [H. Cohen, KanVs Begriindung der Ethik, Berlin, 1877 ; E. Zeller, 



soned, proved, scientifically established, and legitimized, 
it would be a grave mistake to consider the sage of Koen- 
igsberg as a sceptic in the traditional sense, and to impute 
to him a weakness for the materialism of his age. Scepti- 
cism is the upshot of the Critique of Pure Reason ; it is 
not, however, the ultimatum of Kantianism. To assert the 
contrary is completely to misunderstand the spirit of the 
philosophy of Kant and the final purpose of his critique. 
This is by no means hostile to the moral faith and its tran- 
scendent object, but wholly in its favor. It is, undoubtedly, 
not Kant's intention to " humiliate "_reason, as TertuUian 
and Pascal had desired to do, but tcTassign to it its proper 
place among all our faculties, its true role in the compli- 
cated play of our spiritual life. Now, this place is, accoi'd- 
ing to Kant, a subordinate one ; this function is regulative 
and modifying, not constitutive and creative. The Will, 
and not reason^ forms the basis of our faculties arid of 
things : that is the leading thought of Kantian philosophy. 
While reason becomes entangled in inevitable antinomies 
and involves us in doubts, the will is the ally of faith, the 
source, and, therefore, the natural guardian of our moral 
and religious beliefs. Observe that Kant in no wise denies 
the existence of the thing-in-itself, of the soul, and of God, 
but only the possibility of proving the reality of these Ideas, 
by means of reasoning. True, he combats spiritualistic 
dogmatism, but the same blow that brings it down over- 
throws materialism ; and though he attacks theism, he like- 
wise demolishes the dogmatic pretensions of the atheists. 
What he combats to the utmost and pitilessly destroys is 
the dogmatism of theoretical reason, under whatever form 

Ueher das Kantische Moralprincip, Berlin, 1880 ; J. G. Schiirman, 
Kantian Ethics and the Ethics of Evolution. London, 1881 ; IST. Porter, 
Kanfs Ethics, Chicago, 1886 ; F. W. Forster, Der EntwicTcelungsgang der 
Kantischen Ethik, etc., Berlin, 1894; Piinjer, Die Religionslehre Kant's, 
Jena, 1874. —Tr.]. 



it may present itself, whether as theism or atheism, spirit- 
ualism or materialism ; is its assumption of authority in the 
system of our faculties ; is the prejudice which attributes 
metaphysical capacity to the understanding, isolated from 
the will and depending on its own resources. By way of 
retaliation — and here he reveals the depth of his philo- 
sophic faith — he concedes a certain metaphysical capacity 
to practical reason^ i. e., to will. 

Like the understanding, the will has its own character, 
its original forms, its particular legislation, a legislation 
which Kant calls " practical reason." In this new domain, 
the problems raised by the Critique of Pure Reason change 
in aspect ; doubts are dissipated, and uncertainties give way 
to practical certainty. The moral law differs essentially 
from physical law, as conceived by theoretical reason. 
Physical law is irresistible and inexorable ; the moral 
law does not compel, but bind ; hence it implies freedom. 
vThough freedom cannot be proved theoretically, it is not in 
the least doubtful to the will : it is a postulate of practical 
reason, an immediate fact of the moral consciousness. ^ ^ 

Here arises one of the great difficulties with which 
philosophy is confronted : How can we reconcile the pos- 
tulate of practical reason with the axiom of pure reason 
that every occurrence in the phenomenal order is a neces- 
sary effect, that the phenomenal world is governed by an 
absolute determinism ? Kant, whose belief in free-will is 
no less ardent tlian his love of truth, cannot admit an abso- 
lute incompatibilit}^ between natural necessity and moral 
liberty. The conflict of reason and conscience, regarding 
freedom, can only be a seeming one ; it must be possible to 
resolve the antinomy without violating the rights of the 
intelligence or those of the will. 

The solution would, undoubtedly, be impossible, if the 

1 Zur Grundlegung der Melaphysik der Sitten, p. 80 ; Kriiik der 
praklischen Vernunft, p. 274. 



Critique of Pure Reason absolutely denied libert}^, but the 
fact is, it excludes freedom from the phenomenal sphere 
only , and not from the intelligible and transcendent world, 
which exists behind the phenomenon, though it is unknow- 
able. Theoretical reason declares : Freedom, though im- 
possible in the phenomenal world, is possible in the absolute 
order ; it is conceived as a noumenon ; it is intelligible ; 
and practical reason adds : it is certain. Hence, there is no 
real contradiction between the faculty of knowledge and of 
will. "^Our acts are determined, in so far as they occur in 
time and in space, indetermined and free, in so far as the 
source whence they spring, our intelligible character, is in- 
dependent of these two forms of sensibility.^ ^ 

This would not be a solution if time and space were 
objective realities, as dogmatic philosophy conceives them. 
From that point of view, Spinoza is right in denying free- 
dom. However, as soon as we agree with criticism, that 
space and, above all, time are modes of seeing things, and 
do not affect the things themselves, determinism is reduced 
to a mere theory or general conception of things, a theory 
or conception which reason cannot repudiate without 
abdicating, but which by no means exj)resses their real 

The Kantian solution of the problem of freedom at first 
sight provokes a very serious objection. If the soul, as in- 
telligible character, does not exist in time, if it is not a 
phenomenon, we can no longer subsume it under the cate- 
gory of causality, since tlie categories apply only to phe- 
nomena and not to " noumena." Hence it ceases to be a 
cause and a free cause. Nor can we apply to it the cate- 
gory of unity. Hence it ceases to be an individual apart 
from other individuals : it is identified with the universal, 
the eternal, and the infinite. Fichte, therefore, consistently 
deduces his doctrine of the absolute ego from Kantian 

^ Kritik der praktischen Vernunfl, pp. 225 ff. 



premises. Our philosopher, however, does not seem to 
have the slightest suspicion that this is the logical conclu- 
sion of his theoryi , Nay, he postulates, always in the name 
of practical reason, individual immortality ^ as a necessary 
condition of the solution of the moral problem, and the 
existence of a God ^ apart from the intelligible ego, as the 

an appendix to his ethics, and is Dot to be taken very 
seriously. It is no longer, as in the Middle Ages, the 
queen of the sciences, but the humble servant of inde- 
pendent ethics. This personal God, afterwards postulated 
by the Critique of Practical Reason^ forcibly reminds us of 
the celebrated epigram of a contemporary of our philoso- 
pher : " If there were no God, we should have to invent 

The real God of Kant is Freedom in the service of the 
ideal, or the good Will {der gute Wille),^ 

His conviction in this matter is most clearly expressed by 
the doctrine of the primacy of practical reasoyi^^ i. e., of the 
will.^ Theoretical reason and practical reason, though not 
directly contradicting each other, are slightly at variance as 
to the most important questions of ethics and religion, the 
former tending to conceive liberty, God, and the absolute as 
ideals having no demonstrable objective existence, the 
latter affirming the reality of the autonomous soul, responsi- 
bility, immortality, and the Supreme Being. The conse- 
quences of this dualism would be disastrous if theoretical 
reason and practical reason were of equal rank ; and they 

^ Krilik der pralctisclien Vernunft, p. 261. 2 j^^ 264. 

8 Grundlegung zur Metaphysih der Silten, p. 11 : Es ist Uherall nicJits 
in der Welt, ja uherliaupt anch nusser derselhen zu denken mdglich, was 
ohne Einschrankun (J fur (juL konnte gehalten werden, ah allein ein Guter 



^ Kritik der praktisrhen Verniinff, p. 258. 

Id., pp. 105 ff. 



would be still more disastrous, were the latter subordinated 
to the former. But tlie authority of practical reason is 
superior to that of theoretical reason, and in real life the 
former predominates. Hence we should, in any case, act as 
if it were proved that we are free, that the soul is immortal, 
that there is a supreme judge and rewarder. 

In certain respects, the dualism of understanding and 
will is a happy circumstance. If the realities of religion, 
God, freedom, and the immortality of the soul, were self- 
evident truths, or capable of theoretical proof, we should 
do the good for the sake of future reward, our will would 
cease to be autonomous, our acts would no longer be strictly 
moral ; for every other motive except the categorical impera- 
tive of conscience and the respect which it inspires, be it 
friendship or even the love of God, renders the will het- 
eronomous^ and deprives its acts of their ethical character. 
Moreover, religion is true only when completely identical 
with morality. Religion within the bounds of reason con- 
sists in morality, nothing more nor less. The essence of 
Christianity is eternal morality ; the goal of the church is 
the triumph of right in humanity. When the church aims 
at a different goal, it loses its raison d'etre} 

^ Die Religion innerhalh der Grenzen der hlossen Vernunft, pp. 130 ff. ; 
205 ff. — The independent morality of the socialist P. J. Proudhon (1809- 
1865) is grounded on these principles. It is based on the following 
proposition : " Morality must cease ^o lean on theology for support, it 
must free itself from all so-called revealed dogmas, and base itself 
solely on conscience and the innate principle of justice, without re- 
quiring the support of the belief in God and the immortality of the 
soul." This doctrine of Proudhon has been reproduced and popular- 
ized by a weekly journal, the " Morale independante" edited by Massol, 
Morin, and Coignet (1865 ff.). 



III. Critique of Judgment* 

While the Critique of Practical Reason^ with its categori- 
cal imperative, its primacy of the conscience, and its absolute 
independence of morality, satisfies Kant's moral feeling 
and his great love of liberty, which had been shaken by the 
conclusions of the Critique of Pure Reason^ the philosophical 
instinct reasserts itself in his sesthetics and teleology, 
which form the subject-matter of his Critique of Judgment, 
We have seen how, in the Critique of Pure Beasoyi, he 
universally combines synthesis with analysis, how he solders 
together the heterogeneous parts of the cognitive appa- 
ratus : between the functions of sensibility and those of 
reason he discovers the intermediate function of the idea 
of time, which is half intuition, half category ; between 
a priori concepts which are diametrically opposed, he 
inserts intermediary categories. The same synthetic im- 
pulse leads him, in his Critique of Judgment, to bridge 
over the chasm which separates theoretical reason and the 

The sesthetical and teleological sense is an intermediate 
faculty, a connecting link between the understanding and 
the will. Truth is the object of the understanding, nature 
and natural necessity its subject-matter. The will strives 
for the good ; it deals with freedom. The sesthetical and 
teleological sense (or judgment in the narrow sense of the 
term) is concerned with what lies between the true and 
the good, between nature and liberty : we mean the beauti- 
ful and the purposive. Kant calls it judgment because of 
the analogy between its manifestations and what is called 
judgment in logic ; like the judgment, tlie sense of the 

1 [A. Stadler, Kanrs Tehologie, etc., Berlin, 1874; Yi. Cohen, KanVs 
BegrUndung der Aesthelik, P»erlin, 1889; J. Goldfriedrich, Kant's Aes- 
thetik, Leipsic, 1805; J. H. Tiifis, 77^e Sources and Development of KanV s 
Teleology, Chicago, 1892. — Tii.]. 

2 Kritik der Uriheilskraft, p. 14. 



beautiful and the teleological establishes a relation between 
two things which as such have nothing in common ; between 
what ought to be and what is, between freedom and natural 

1. J^stlietics. — The sesthetical sense differs both from 
the understancUng and the will. It is neither theoretical 
nor practical in character ; it is a phenomenon sui generis. 
But it has this in common with reason and will, that it 
rests on an essentially subjective basis. Just as reason 
constitutes the true, and will the good, so the lesthetical 
sense makes the beautiful. s^ Beaut y does not inhere in ob- 
jects ; it does not exist apart from the lesthetical sense ; it is 
the product of this sense, as time and space are the products 
of the theoretical sense.^ That is beautiful which pleases 
(quality), which pleases all (quantity), which pleases with- 
out interest and without a concept (relation), and pleases 
necessarily (modality).^ 

What characterizes the beautiful and distinguishes it 
from the sublime, is the feeling of peace, tranquillity, or 
harmony which it arouses in us, in consequence of the per- 
fect agreement between the undersianding and the imagi- 
nation. The sublime, on the other hand, disturbs us, agitates 
us, transports us. Beauty dwells in the form ; the sublime, 
in the disproportion between the form and the content. 
The beautiful calms and pacifies us ; the sublime brings 
disorder into our faculties ; it produces discord between 
the reason, which conceives the infinite, and the imagina- 
tion, which has its fixed limits. The emotion caused in us 
by the stairy heavens, the storm, and the raging sea springs 
from the conflict aroused by these different phenomena 
between our reason, which can measure the forces of nature 
and the heavenly distances without being overwhelmed by 
the enormous figures, and our imagination, which cannot 

1 Kritik der Urtheilskraft, pp. 45 ff. 



follow reason into the depths of infinity. Man has a feeling 
of grandeur, because he himself is grand through reason. 
The animal remains passive in the presence of the grand 
spectacles of nature, because its intelligence does not rise 
beyond the level of its imagination. Hence we aptly say, 
the sublime elevates the soul (^das Urhabene ist erhebend). 
In the feeling of the sublime, man reveals himself as a being 
infinite in reason, finite in imagination. Both infinite and 
finite : how is that possible ? Kant cannot fathom this 
mystery without surpassing the limits which he has pre- 
scribed to knowledge. 1 

2. Teleology? — There are two kinds of purposiveness. 
The one arouses in us, immediately and without the aid of 
any concept, a feeling of pleasure, satisfaction, and inner 
harmony : this is subjective finality, which constitutes the 
beautiful. The other also arouses pleasure, but mediately, 
in consequence of an experience or an intermediate process 
of reasoning: this is objective finality, which constitutes 
the suitable {das Zweckmdssige). Thus, a flower may be 
both the object of an sesthetical judgment in the artist, and 
of a teleological judgment in the naturalist, who has tested 
its value as a remedy. Only, the judgment which stamps 
it as beautiful is immediate and spontaneous, while that of 
the naturalist depends on previous experience. 

The Critique of Pure Reason regards every phenomenon 
as a necessary effect, and therefore excludes purposiveness 
from the phenomenal world. Physics merely enumerates 
an infinite series of causes and effects. Teleology intro- 
duces between the cause and the effect, considered as the 
end or goal, the means, the instrumental cause. Theoreti- 
cally, teleology is valueless. However, we cannot avoid it 
so long as we apply our teleological sense to the study of 
nature. Unless we abandon one of our faculties, which is 

1 Kritik (lev Urtheihkraft, pp. 97 ft". ; 399 ff. 

2 Id., pp. 239 ff. 



as real and inevitable as reason and will, we cannot help 
recognizing purposiveness in the structure of the eye, the 
ear, and the organism in general. Though mechanism 
fully explains the inorganic world, the teleological view 
forces itself upon us when we come to consider anatomy, 
physiology, and biology. 

The antinomy of mechanism, affirmed by the theoretical 
reason, and teleolog}^ claimed by the teleological sense, is 
no more insoluble than that of necessity and freedom.^ 
Teleology is nothing but a theory concerning phenomena. 
It no more expresses the essence of things than mechanism. 
This essence is as unknowable for the Critique of Judgment 
as for the Critique of Pure lieason. Things-in-themselves 
are not in time ; they have no succession, no duration. 
According to mechanism, the cause and its effect, accord- 
ing to teleology, the free cause, the means, and the goal at 
which it aims, follow each other, i. e., they are separated 
in time. But time is merely an a priori form of intuition, 
a mode of conceiving things ; as such and apart from my 
thought or my theory, the cause and the effect of the 
mechanist, the creative agent, the means, and the goal of 
the teleologist, are in each other, insej)arable, simultaneous. 
Imagine an understanding which is not bound to the 
a priori forms of space and time like ours, a free and ab- 
solute intellectual intuition : such an understanding would 
perceive the cause, the means, and the end at one glance ; 
it would identify the end and the principle ; the end would 
not follow the efficient cause, but would be immanent in it 
and identical with it. Immanent teleology^ which iden- 
tifies the ends of nature with the acting causes, is the 
natural solution of the antinomy of mechanism and pur- 

We see that the subjectivity of time and space is the most 
1 Kritik der Urtheihkraft, pp. 302 ff. 


original and, on the whole, the most fruitful of Kant's 
teachings. There is no question so subtle, no problem so 
obscure, as not to be illuminated by it. Space and time are 
the eyes of the mind, the organs which reveal to it its 
inexhaustible content. These organs are at the same time 
the boundaries of its knowledge. But in spite of this 
insurmountable barrier, it feels free, immortal, and divine ; 
and it declares its independence in the field of action. It 
is the mind which prescribes its laws to the phenomenal 
world ; it is the mind from which the moral law proceeds ; 
it is the mind and its judgment which make the beautiful 
beautiful. In short, the three Critiques culminate in ab- j 
solute spiritualism. Kant compared his work to that of i 
Copernicus : just as the author of the Celestial Revolutions 
pats the sun in the place of the earth in our planetary v 
system, so the author of the C7'itic[ue places the mind in 
the centre of the phenomenal world and makes the latter 
dependent upon it. Kant's philosophy is, undoubtedly, 
the most remarkable and most fruitful product of modern 
thought. With a single exception, perhaps,^ the greatest 
systems which our century has produced are continuations 
of Kantianism. jSven those — and their number has grown 
during the last thirty years — who have again taken up the 
Anglo-French philosophy of the eighteenth century, revere 
the illustrious name of Immanuel Kant. 

^ We mean the system of Comte, which is closely related to the 
French philosophy of the eighteenth century. Comte himself says, 
in a letter to Gustave d'Eichthal, dated December 10th, 1824 : " I have 
always considered Kant not only as a very powerful thinker, but also 

the metaphysician who most closely approximates the positive 



§ 63. Kant and German Idealism i 

The dogmatic Leibniz-Wolffian school,^ the sceptic G. E. 
ScHULZE,^ the eclectic Herder,* Ja cqbi ^ and Hamann,^ 
the exponents of religious faith, accept the challenge 
which Kant had hurled at all traditions. Some inde- 
pendents " (Salomon Maiivion,' Bardili,^ etc.) take ex- 
ception to his teachings or protest against them, although 
they, too, feel his influence. But the Kantian philosophy 
was eagerly welcomed, though not wholly understood, by 
numerous disciples, some of them (Bouterwek,^ Krug,^^ 

1 [See p. 43 i, note 1 ; also vol. Y. of K. Fischer's History and Zeller's 
German Philosophy. — Tk.] 

2 Eberhard (1738-1809), professor at Halle, was its chief represen- 

8 1761-1833. Author of .■Enesidemus, 1792. [If the categories can- 
not be applied to things-in-themselves, how can we know whether 
these exist or do not exist? " We can have no absolutely certain and 
universally valid knowledge, in philosophy, either of the existence or 
non-existence of things-in-themselves and their properties, or of the 
limits of human knowledge." Kant's critique logically culminates in 
scepticism. — Tr.] 

^ 171:4:-1803. The theologian Herder, one of the stars of German 
literature, teaches a kind of Christianized Spinozism, in which he antici- 
pates the philosophy of Schelling and Schleiermacher. To the Critique 
of Kant he opposes his Metakritik, etc., Leipsic, 1799. He also wrote: 
Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, Riga, 1784-1791. 

5 1743-1819. Complete works, 6 vols., Leipsic, 1812-25. [See 
Harms, Ueber die Lehre von F. H. Jacobi, Berlin, 1876 ; L. Levy-Bruhl, 
La philosophie de Jacobi, Paris, 1894. — Tr.] 

6 1730-1788. Works published by Both, Berlin, 1821-43 ; [also by 
Gildemeister, 6 vols., Gotha, 1858-73]. 

' 1754-1800. Maimon rejects the Kantian notion of the thing-in- 
itself, and approaches Fichte. [Cf. Witte, S. Maimon, Berlin, 1876.] 

^ 1761-1808. Bardili's rational realism anticipates Hegel's logic. 

® 1766-1828. Professor at Gottingen, known especially by his Aes- 
thetik, Leipsic, 1806. 

1770-1842. Kant's successor at Konigsberg, 1805, then (1809), 
professor at Leipsic. Entwurf eines neuen Organon der Philosophie^ 



Fries, ^ etc.) being original thinkers. Its chief apostles 
were: Schiller,^ the national poet of Germany, Rein- 
hold, ^ and FiCHTE. The University of Jena became the 
brilliant centre of the new movement, the crucible, as it 
were, in which the new views were soon transformed. 

The original and genuine criticism occupied a position 
between the sensationalism of Locke, Hume, and Condillac, 
and the intellectualisni of Leibniz. Sensationalism had 
declared ; All ideas and consequently all truths, to what- 

Meissen, 1801 ; FundamentalpliilosopMe, 2nd ed., 1819 ; Das System der 
tlieoretisclien Philosopliie, 3 vols., 2d ed., Konigsberg, 1819-23 ; System 
der practischen Philosophie, 3 vols., id., 1817-19; Handbuch der Philo- 
sopliie, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1820-21 ; Das allgemeine Handbuch der philoso- 
phischen Wissenschaften, 2d ed., 5 vols., Leipsic, 1832-38. — Krug, who 
holds that an original a priori synthesis, not further to be explained, 
takes place within us between bei7ig and knoivledge, calls his system : 
transcendental synthetism . 

^ 1773-1843. Professor at Heidelberg- and Jena. Fries refers 
criticism to the domain of psychology, and bases it on inner observa- 
tion. His philosophy is a connecting link between Kantianism and 
the Scotch school. We mention the following writings : System der 
Philosophie als evidenter Wissenschaft, Leipsic, 1804; Wissen, Glaube 
und Ahndung, Jena, 1805, 3d ed., 1837; [his best known work : Neue 
Kritikder Vernunft, 3 vols., Heidelberg, 1807, 2d ed., 1828-31]; and 
many highly prized text-books. He had numerous disciples ; among 
them : the philosopher Apelt, the naturalist Schleiden, and the theo- 
logian De Wette. 

2 (1759-1805). Briefe iiber cesthetische Erziehung, 1793-95; [Ueber 
Anmuth und Wurde, 1793; Ueber naive und sentimentale Dichtung, 1795- 
96, Engl. tr. in Bohn's Library. See Kuno Fischer, Schiller als Philo- 
soph, Frankfort, 1858; 2d completely revised ed. {Schillerschriften, III, 
IV), Heidelberg, 1891-92. — Tr.]. 

2 1758-1823. Versuch einer neuen Theorie des menschlichen Vorstel- 
lungsvermogens, JensL, 1789; \_Das Fundament des philosophischen Wissens, 
1791]. Reinhold's so-called elementary theory derives the a priori and 
a posteriori elements of knowledge from a common principle : the 
faculty of representation (Vorstellungsvei-mdgen). It anticipates the 
subjective idealism of Fichte, which calls this common principle the 


ever order they may belong, are derived from the senses 
(and reflection); reason does not create them, it receives 
them. Intellectualism, on the other hand, had asserted: 
All our ideas and consequently all truths whatsoever are 
the product of reason. So-called outer perception is merely 
an elementary speculation ; the thinking subject is wholly 
active, and even in cases where it imagines that it receives, 
it creates. Criticism agrees with sensationalism in holding 
that our ideas, without exception, are (/iven by sensation ; 
but, it adds, their matter or material alone is given, their 
form is the product of reason : in this respect intellectualism 
has the right on its side. In other words, it distinguishes, 
in every idea, a material element, which is furnished a 
posteriori by the senses, and a formal element, furnished a 
priori by thought. Every science, therefore, or philosophy, ^ 
consists of two parts : a pure^ rational, or speculative part, / 
and an empirical part. Hence, criticism recognizes the 
partial truth of tw^o systems and two methods ; and conse- 
quently repudiates the pretentious claim of either side to 
possess absolute truth and to employ the only possible 
method. It is both idealistic and realistic, and yet, strictly 
speaking, neither one nor the other. 

But this state of equilibrium did not last long. Reinhold 
soon disturbed it with his elementary theory and Kant lived 
to see the triumph of absolute intellectualism, which, by 
way of reaction, led to the restoration of pure sensational- 
ism. He protested, as loudly as he could, against this con- 
dition of things; yet it must be acknowledged that his 
Critique of Pure Reason^ as well as his other two Critiques^ 
contained the germs of the idealistic theories of the nine- 
teenth century. Under the influence of the Spinozistic 
system which Lessing and Herder had recently introduced 
into Germany, these germs soon sprouted, 
j Kant had intimated that the mysterious unknown con- 
1 See page 474, note 3. 



cealed behind the phenomena of sense might possibly be 
identical with the unknown in ourselves. This simple 
thought, which, however, he failed to carry out, contained 
the philosophy of Fichte. 

But even if he had never advanced the hypothesis of the 
identity of the ego and the non-ego, his criticism would still 
bear a very pronounced idealistic stamp. Although it es- 
tablishes an independent order of things apart from reason, 
a transcendent object, which impresses our senses and fur- 
nishes, the material for our ideas, it assigns to pure reason 
the highest role imaginable. Reason, the thinking subject, 
creates space and time ; reason, with the materials supplied 
by the senses, makes, constructs, or constitutes the phenom- 
enon. The phenomenon is its work, if not its creation. 
Reason applies to phenomena the categories of relation and 
connects them by the tie of causality ; through the legisla- 
tive power of reason, phenomena become effects and causes ; 
and if we mean by iiatitre^ not the totality of the things 
themselves, but only the sum of sensible and inner phenom- 
ena considered in their regular connections, then reason 
makes or produces nature^ for reason prescribes to nature its 
laws.^ From reason, finally, are derived the Ideas of the 
world, God, and the absolute. 

If reason makes time and space, if reason determines and 
regulates the phenomenon, if reason constitutes nature and 
the universal order, what becomes of that which, according 
to empiricism, is given to reason ? The raw material of the 
phenomenon, or, what amounts to the same, of intuition 
and thought, the unknown quantity which occasions the 
difference between sound, light, smell, taste, temperature, 
pleasure, and pain, something, I-know-not-what," which 
brings it about that a person born blind, though he may be 
an excellent mathematician and perfectly able to understand 
the laws of optics, cannot form a correct notion of light, — 
^ Prolegomena, pp. 84-85. 



that is all that is given to us, everything else being our own 
creation. Given by whom ? Given by what ? By some- 
thing, I-know-not-what, which is called the thing-in-itself^ a 
transcendent object, which, consequently, cannot be known, 
a mysterious agent, which calls forth sensations, and co- 
operates in the formation of ideas, but in regard to which 
I have no right to affirm or to deny anything. 

But how, then, can you affirm that it is an agent, that it 
provokes sensations ? ^ The transcendent object of intuition 
(the thing-in-itself) is neither in space nor in time. Space 
and time contain phenomena only, i. e., that which appears ; 
and the thing-in-itself does not appear. We cannot apply 
to it any of the forms of the understanding ; we cannot 
conceive it, as Kant explicitly states,^ either as magnitude, 
reality, or substance. Hence we cannot conceive it as the 
cazise of our impressions, although Kant flatly contradicts 
himself and regards it as such.^ But if the thing-in-itself 
cannot be conceived either as a quantity, or as a cause, or 
as a reality, it cannot be considered as anything ; it is 
nothing, or rather it exists only in the thinking subject ; 
like space, time, and the categories, it is identical with the 
subject which conceives it.* The matter of our ideas, 
the transcendent substratum of the phenomena of sense, is 
the same as the substratum of the inner phenomena, the soul, 
or ego, or reason giving to itself not only the form but also 
the matter of its ideas. Reason not merely assists in the 
production of the phenomenon, it is the creator — the sole 
creator — of the phenomenal world. Hence it is, in the 

^ This contradiction was especially pointed out by J. Sigismund 
Beck (1761-1840), who did not, however, succeed in eliminating it 
from Kantianism. [Beck (Einzig mogliclier Standpunkt aus welchem 
(He kritisclie Philosophie beuriheilt iver-den muss, Riga, 1796) rejects the 
thing-in-itself, and interprets the Critique in the idealistic sense. — Tr.] 

^ Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 234. 

3 Id. 

^ Hence the name, philosophy of identity. 



last analysis, an inconsistency of the Kantian philosopliy to 
I concede the existence of a thing-in-itself outside of and hy 
I the side of reason, so to speak. The true consequence of the 
I Critique of Pure Reason is the monism of the ego, or abso- 
I lute idealism. 

But though the Critique of Pure Reason takes us to the 
threshold of panlogism, with its system and method, does 
not the result of the Critique of Practical Reason^ the dual- 
ism of the " two reasons," absolutely hinder us from cross- 
ing it? The speculative Kantians, with Fichte at their 
head, do not regard this teaching as an obstacle to their 
interpretation of criticism, but consider it as an additional 
argument in its favor. 

To begin with, by subordinating the theoretical reason to 
the practical reason, and affirming the primacy of the moral 
^consciousness, Kant not only proclaims the dualism of the 
* " two reasons," but also the monism of the practical reason, 
of which theoretical reason and the teleological judgment 
are mere modes or dependencies. He could not have 
affirmed this primacy, had he discovered absolute contra- 
dictions or insoluble antinomies between practical reason 
and theoretical reason. But such is not the case. There 
is a connecting link between theoretical reason and practical 
reason, and this connecting link is the thing-iyi-itself the 
noumenon, the intelligible order, supposed by theoretical 
reason, postulated and openly affirmed by the conscience. 

The " two reasons " would contradict each other, if one 
denied what the other affirms : the invisible, the ideal, 
the absolute. In reality, the theoretical reason does not 
reject the absolute ; it simply recognizes its inability to 
know it and to demonstrate its existence. The same may 
be said of freedom, which is synonymous with the absolute. 
What the Critique of Pure Reason does deny is liberty in 
the phenomenal world. It recognizes in nature nothing 
but the law of causality, mechanism, the determinism of 



facts, but it conceives liberty as a prerogative of the thing- 
in-itself^ while maintaining the impossibility of a theoretical 
demonstration. The thing-in-itself may be considered as 
free. Now, practical reason categorically affirms the liberty 
of the acting subject, the freedom of the ego. Hence, the 
Critique of Practical Reason^ instead of contradicting the 
idealistic conclusions, confirms them : the ego itself is 
the thing-in-itself (the free thing) ; the ohject which seems 
to determine us from without, is merely the subject acting 
within ourselves ; object and subject, being and thought, 
nature and mind, are identical. If the / were determined ' 
by an ohject-iyi-itself the " two reasons " would absolutely 
contradict each other ; the ego would henceforth be a slave 
in theory and in practice, and moral freedom would be an 
inexplicable illusion. But the thing-in-itself, the thing 
which determines us " from without " being in reality the 
soul-in-itself, the self-determining subject ; the ego, though 
determined, is free and autonomous, since it determines 
itself in the form of an external object. 

Instead of making against idealistic monism, Kant's 
ethics culminates in it. True, it postulates the immortality 
of the soul and the existence of a personal God apart from 
the ego. But this double affirmation is a mere accident in 
the system : essential to it is the affirmation of the absolute 
freedom of the ego, the doctrine of the practical absolute of 
the ego. Now, the ego which Kant holds to be absolutely 
free is not the empirical ego, the phenomenal self, the self 
which exists in time, but the noumenal ego, i. e., the ego 
raised above space and time. ^To speak of the immortality 
of an ego that does not exist in time, for which, therefore, 
there is no before or after, is an inconsistency similar to the 
doctrine that the thing-in-itself is distinct from the personal 
subject, an inconsistency which has no organic connection 
with the essence of the systemX The same holds for the \ 
theistic teaching. God is undoubtedly distinct from the 1 



empirical and phenomenal ego, but he cannot be anything 
but the absolute ego or the intelligible ego ; otherwise there 
would be two absolutes. 

The Critique of Judgment opened up a still wider field 
than the other two Critiques to the most illustrious dis- 
ciples of Kant. They discovered in it not only a certain 
general tendency towards pantheism, foreign to the other 
writings of the master, but also theories which could not 
fail to culminate in pantheism. We mean his theory of the 
sublime, his immanent teleology., and especially his hypothesis 
of an intellect capable of an immediate and comprehensive 
intuition of things. The first makes a God-man of man ; 
the second substitutes for the notion of creation that of 
evolution; the third makes a serious, though indirect, con- 
cession to dogmatic rationalism. True, Kant does not 
concede intellectual intuition to the human intellect, but he 
does not deny it to the intellect in general, and Schelling 
had only to generalize the Kantian hypothesis to convert the 
intellectual intuition into a philosophical method. 

Such is the relation between Kantianism and the systems 
of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Though these three phi- 
losophies, or rather, these three phases of one and the same 
teaching, all proceed from criticism, they really make against 
it in so far as they occupy themselves particularly with 
what Kant had declared " forbidden fruit," i. e., the abso- 
lute. Their common aim is to re-establish the old meta- 
physics, but to re-establish it upon the basis of criticism. 
In almost the same way the monarchies which emerged 
from the ruins of the Revolution restored the past upon the 
basis of the principles of 1789. Kant and Fichte, in his 
first phase, are the philosophers of the Revolution ; Schel- 
ling and Hegel are the philosophers of the Restoration. 



§ 64. Fichtei 

English sensationalism and the philosophy of relativity 
were founded by a student of medicine and a layman. 
German idealism and the philosophy of the absolute come 
from theology. Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1765-1814), 
its founder, like Schelling and Hegel, first studied for the 
ministry. His Versuch einer Kritik aller Offenharung (1792) 
won for him a professorship in Jena (1793). In 1794 he 
published his chief work : Grundlage der gesammten Wissen- 
scliaftslehre^ which was afterwards revised and republished 
under different titles ; and in 1796 his Grundlage des Natur- 
rechts. Accused of atheism, he resigned his chair (1799), 
and for ten years he and his young family suffered the trials 
attendant upon a more or less nomadic life. He died as a 
professor of the University of Berlin, founded in 1809. 
Besides the works which established his fame, we mention 
the following: Die Bestimmung des Menschen'^ (1800); 
Ueher das Wesen des Gelehrten und seine Erscheinungen im 
Gehiete der Freiheit^ (1805) ; Die Anweisungen zum seligen 
Lehen oder auch die ReligionsleJire ^ (1806) ; Beden an die 

1 [Posthumous works, edited by J. H. Fichte, 3 vols., Bonn, 1834; 
complete works, ed. by J. H. Fichte, 8 vols., 1845-46. Fichte's Popular 
Works, tr. by W. Smith, 4th ed.,, London, 1889. A. F. Kroeger, The 
Science of Knowledge (translations of the Grundlage der gesammten 
Wissenschaftslehre ; Grundriss des Eigenthumlichen der Wissenschafts- 
lehre; etc. etc.), London, 1889; The Science of Rights (tr. of Natur- 
recht), id., 1889. See also the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. On 
Fichte see: J. H. Lowe, Die Philosophic Fichte' s, Stuttgart, 1862; 
Adamson, Fichte {Blackwood's Philosophical Classics), London, 1881 ; 
C. C. Everett, Fichte' s Science of Knoidedge (Griggs's Philosophical 
Classics), Chicago, 1884; F. Zimmer,/. G. Fichte' s Religionsphilosophie, 
Berlin, 1878; and especially the fifth volume of K. Fischer's History 
of Philosophy. — Tr.]. 

2 \_The Vocation of Man, translated by Smith, supra. — Tr.] 
8 [^The Nature of the Scholar, tr. by Smith, supra. — Tr.] 

* [Tr. by Smith (o.c.) under the title. The Doctrine of Religion. Tr.] 




deutsche Nation (1808) ; etc. The German uprising against 
Napoleon was largely due to his influence. 

Though his thought, like that of so many contemporary 
Germans of the Republic and the Empire, showed two dis- 
tinct phases : one, rationalistic, humanitarian, and in sym» 
pathy with the Revolution, the other, mystical, pantheistic, 
and patriotic ; the central notion of his system remained 
the same. This conception, or, let us rather say, this truth, 
the most exalted and at the same time the most paradoxical 
ever formulated by philosophy, is the monism of the moral 

Fichte is to Kant what Euclid-Plato is to Socrates, and 
to Spinoza what Euclid-Plato is to Parmenides. With Kant 
he affirms the moral ideal, and with Spinoza, the unity of the 
two worlds." Hence his philosophy is a synthesis, unique 
in its kind for modern times, of what seemed forever 
irreconcilable : monism and liberty. Identity of the ethical 
principle and the metaphysical principle : that is the funda- 
mental dogma of his system. The real reality is, according 
to Fichte, the Good, active Reason, pure Will, the moral 
Ego. What the common mind regards as real is nothing 
but a phenomenon, a manifestation, a faithful or imperfect 
translation, a portrait or a caricature. The ultimate and 
highest principle from which we come and towards which 
we strive is not heing but duhj ; it is an ideal which is not, 
but which ought to be. Being as such has no value, and 
does not, strictly speaking, exist. The stability or immo- 
bility of what we call substance, substratum, or matter, is a 
mere appearance (Heraclitus and Plato). It is all move- 
ment, tendency, and will. The universe is the manifesta- 

^ Although we recognize the truth of the central thought of Fichte's 
philosophy, we ca.nnot accept his theory of the absolute ego, which 
Schelling refuted, nor, particularly, his method of a priori construc- 
tion, which rests on a confusion of the will and the understanding, 
common to most of the thinkers prior to Schopenhauer. J 



tion of pure Will, the symbol of the moral Idea, which is 
the real thing-in-itself^ the real absolute.^ To philosophize 
is to convince one's self that heing is nothing^ that duty is 
everything ; it is to recognize the inanity of the phenomenal 
world apart from its intelligible essence ; it is to regard the 
objective world, not as the effect of causes foreign to our 
practical reason, but as the product of the ego, as the objec- 
tified ego. There is no science except the science of the ego 
or consciousness. >^^nowledge is neither in whole (Hume, 
Condillac) nor in part (Kant) the product of sensation ; it 
is the exclusive work, the creation., of the ego. There is 
no philosophy but idealism, no method but the a priori 
method. Philosophy does not discover ready-made truths, 
or establish facts that already exist. To philosophize, or to 
know, is to produce such facts, to create such truths. ^ 

Speculative thought does not begin with a fact., with 
something received or suffered by the ego, but with a spon- 
taneous act of its creative energy {nicht Tliatsache., sondern 
Thatliandlung^). Its theses result from a regular succession 
of intellectual acts, which follow the law of opposition and 
reconciliation, foreshadowed by Kant in his threefold divi- 
sion of the categories (affirmation, negation, and limitation). 
The original act of the understanding, and every intellect- 
ual act in general, is threefold: (1) The ego posits itself;, 
this is the act by which the ego takes possession of itself, 
or rather, the act by which it creates itself (for to take pos- 
session would presuppose an ego existing prior to the ego, 
or a given fact) ; (2) A non-ego is opposed to the ego, or the 
ego is negated ; (3) The ego and the non-ego reciprocally 
limit each other. 

As the essential elements of one and the same concrete 
reality, these three original acts {thesis of the ego, antithesis 
of the non-ego, and synthesis of the ego and non-ego) form 
but a single act. By affirming itself as a subject, the ego 
^ Complete Works, II., p. 657. 2 /^.^ pp 33^ ff. 

8 Id., I., 91 ff.